They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
March 27, 2007 10:47 AM   Subscribe

Poison Dart Machine Hidden at Hong Kong Race Track No good explanation for why and how someone dug up the turf at a Hong Kong racetrack and installed a machine capable of blowing poison darts at the horses. The Triads? (First link NYT)
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy (26 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Seems like a good explanation for why is readily apparent.
posted by DU at 10:55 AM on March 27, 2007

That's... not something you'd actually expect to encounter in real life. How weird.

And your second link is busted.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:58 AM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

posted by caddis at 11:15 AM on March 27, 2007

It's awesome to live in a world where people do weird-ass shit like this. Although calling them "poison" darts seems to be jumping the gun (heh).
posted by brundlefly at 11:20 AM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

That's... not something you'd actually expect to encounter in real life.

No kidding--they should surround the infield with a moat stocked with sharks with frickin' laser beams.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 11:21 AM on March 27, 2007

I may be in the minority when I say the world could benefit from more hidden poison dart blowgun crazy machine contraptions.
posted by The Straightener at 11:35 AM on March 27, 2007

It'd be a minority of at least two, Straights old pal.
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:40 AM on March 27, 2007

One popular theory is that gamblers installed it in an attempt to fix the outcome of races.

This of course, is only second to the theory that it is being used to fire holy water filled darts into invisible evil spirits that line the course, plaguing the horses with their malevolent laughs and merciless taunts.
posted by quin at 11:42 AM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Oh come on. Who doesn't have at least a few unused poison dart machines lying around their house? It always seems like so much fun when you buy them, and then, after a few months and a couple of mailmen, it just loses its luster.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:49 AM on March 27, 2007

I go down to Belmont four or five times over the course of the season. It's really fun, especially if you assume the twenty to forty bucks you gamble is for entertainment value and any winnings are gravy. Horse racing has shitty, shitty payout odds.

Anyway it's great, it's like a permanent late '70's - early 80's timewarp, with the same weirdos, hustlers, touts, gambling addicts and working class families out for the day. You can bring your own cooler of beer and food into the open back area and have a picnic. It's a great cheap day, especially if you are in the mood for a mildly seedy slice of forgotten America.

What's my point here... Oh yeah, every once in a while my brother-in-law calls me and tells me to put down whatever I can on some nondescript horse that is running at 12 to 1 or so, usually leaves the gate at 5 to 1 or less and the odds drop really heavy in the last minute of betting. I've won a couple hundred bucks at a time like that and I'm usually a big low-roller, 2 dollar win tickets and the occasional one dollar trifecta.

So obviously this is a real fix, my brother-in-law being the kind of dude who knows a few people who seem to gamble more or less professionally. I usually assume the fix having to do with a horse running under a false name or with faked results or something, not fucking poison darts being blown at them during the race. That's crazy, like bad heist movie crazy. I guess if you could pull it off though, you could really make some crazy wins, at least once or twice, especially if a bunch of people put down a bunch of really big bets at the last minute.

What a nutty idea.
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:54 AM on March 27, 2007

Police officials refused to discuss the device found at Happy Valley, except to say that it was under investigation. One popular theory is that gamblers installed it in an attempt to fix the outcome of races.

I want to hear the other popular theories.
posted by delmoi at 12:02 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

They must have one of those buried in the lawn outside the Old Country Buffet. I always feel really tired when I leave that place.
posted by jeffkay at 12:03 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

'Captain, they're going nuts down at the race track.'
'What's going on, Lieutenant?'
'Word is a giant mecha robot popped up out of the infield in the third race, dropped the two leading horses and stomped through the stands, crushing hundreds of people.'
'That's crazy talk. What a stupid way to fix a race... say, it didn't peg Bright Boy, did it? I had twenty bucks at eight to one on him.'
posted by ardgedee at 12:15 PM on March 27, 2007

other theories: I read this last night and the NYT seems preoccupied with the notion that this is a sort of dry run for terrorists planning on attacking the Olympics equestrian events... nutters.
posted by headless at 12:27 PM on March 27, 2007

It was a red herring. Seriously, a dart gun? I wouldn't be surprised if the darts were loaded with a solution of smarties and fruit punch. The REAL device is a boxing glove on a pneumatic actuator toward the end of the track.
posted by The Power Nap at 1:40 PM on March 27, 2007

Me, I'd suspect MIT students.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:48 PM on March 27, 2007

"C'mon, Number Six, move it!"
posted by Servo5678 at 1:54 PM on March 27, 2007

Sorry about that second link, meant to go here.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 1:55 PM on March 27, 2007

Divine_Wino: glad to hear you dig going to the races. The industry has really suffered for lack of attendance over the past many years.

This is something that really upsets my dad, who's the Chairman of the California Horse Racing Board.
posted by rbs at 2:49 PM on March 27, 2007

I was surprised to learn from Randle's link that the racecourse is the largest single taxpayer in Hong Kong.

My observations are tangential. Here in Wisconsin, we relented to permit greyhound racing back in the 80s, and devised an aggressive regulatory schema to provide oversight and ensure that, y'know, unsavory elements didn't get into the industry.

As far as I know, not only did many of the tracks fail, but every single one eventually had some sort of "problem" with mobbed-up folks being investors or trying to be or connected with the track management or as contractors. I'd almost say a country would be wise to run some sort of racing franchise just to see what it attracts.
posted by dhartung at 2:57 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Ask your Dad to look into those shitty, shitty payout odds rbs, might help.
posted by Divine_Wino at 3:02 PM on March 27, 2007

It's not a bug, it's a feature.
posted by Balisong at 3:55 PM on March 27, 2007

There's been a rumor going around Hong King for awhile that there is, or was, a taxi driver that drove around late at night. His back seat was notorious, as it had a large sharpened knife blade that the driver could automatically engage from the front seat. The driver would pick up a passenger, driving toward their destination, then unleash the knife blade to scissor down and kill them.

There destination would never see them, and the driver would continue to pick up lost fares, deep into the night.

Asia is built on myths like these.

Or is this shit real?

Take a taxi one night, in some damp Hong Kong alley. Let me know if you never arrive.
posted by four panels at 4:11 PM on March 27, 2007

The next time the Yankees are eliminated for the Playoffs early, Joe Torre would do well to discover some of these planted around Yankee Stadium.

'We would have won - but for the poison darts being fired into A-Rod's stomach."
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:01 PM on March 27, 2007

Note to self: look busy in the track server room this summer to avoid being consigned to pre-race dart launcher inspection duty.
posted by djb at 10:02 PM on March 27, 2007

Take a taxi one night, in some damp Hong Kong alley. Let me know if you never arrive.

Hong Kong's alleys aren't big enough to fit a taxi.
posted by bwg at 10:41 PM on March 27, 2007

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