Zhao Wei: A detective borne out of circumstances

"If you hate someone, send him to New York, because it is a hell. If you love someone, send him to New York, because it is a paradise." It is one of the lines in "Beijinger in New York", which tells a story of a Beijinger struggling for a living in an American city. But for Zhao Wei, a Chinese farmer who was robbed of 300,000 yuan by a fake boss, it is the words of farewell he got from his friend when he decided to start a money-retrieving trip to the US.

"17 years ago, my buddy said these words to me when he saw me off. He was worried that I would fall into 'hell' in the US because I could not speak English and had no experience of living in a foreign country," recalled Zhao, son of a Shanxi farmer.

Unfortunately, what Zhao's friend was anxious about became true. In California, Zhao sought out Feng, the shoddy boss of a bogus trade company, who cheated him of 300,000 yuan in the guise of share purchase and investment, only to find that he was a penniless vagrant.

Feng used some home appliances as partial compensation. To get it cashed, Zhao was advised by Feng to sell the home appliances to a man surnamed Mao, who disappeared after receiving the items.

The misfortune of being deceived twice did not discourage Zhao. After working as dishwasher, delivery man and security guard, Zhao became a private detective, whose job was to recover debts for his clients.

Zhao's legendary story made headlines in Los Angeles Times and got attention from Hollywood directors. Under an agreement signed by Canadian producer Raymond Massey and Zhao Haicheng, vice president of China Film Co Ltd, at the 2012 Whistler Film Festival, "The Story of Zhao Wei", a film based on Zhao's experiences in the US, was included into a cooperative filming project.

(The article is translated and edited by Ding Yi)

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