With wealth and status can come jealousy and attention, but how far should the ultra-rich go to guard against a worrying array of threats? These security providers reveal Hong Kong’s elite will try just about anything, from impossible-to-crack safety deposit boxes to snarling attack dogs.
Release the Hounds
Hong Kong Guard Dogs provides working dog rentals and training to a variety of clients, including private households and property management companies. Founder Daniel Tang unlatches the kennel on his trade:
What services do you provide?
We provide attack dogs, patrol dogs and explosives sniffer dogs. Patrol dogs are German shepherds trained in barking and basic obedience. Our attack dogs are only used when the client requests them, as there’s a risk they can’t be controlled and can get aggressive. Sometimes we are hired by the cruise ship industry to search cargo for explosives when they dock. The patrol dogs serve some of the wealthiest in Hong Kong, living in places like the Peak. Dogs either stay at the home or are transported there for shifts. During the political demonstrations in 2019, we saw an increase in clients.
How many dogs do you have?
More than 100. We have a licence to breed German shepherds so we know the bloodline of all our dogs. We also have East European shepherds, which are more muscular and have unbelievable endurance. We used to have Belgian malinoises as well, but some clients thought they looked too scary—which was kind of the purpose—and they can also be hyperactive. Our headquarters is in Kwai Chung but our training centre is in Kam. Tin All dogs have their own room, sized up to 100 sq ft—bigger than some of my friends’ homes.
What’s the journey of a dog?
When puppies are between 60 to 90 days old, we start socialisation to make sure they’re comfortable around people and loud noises as they need to be stable enough for work. We train them to bite a ball before they move on to the biting sleeve. When they retire, they come back to live in the kennel as we have the facilities to keep them healthy, such as a swimming pool and space to run. We only put them up for adoption in special cases. Mostly they stay with us, as the kennel is a good place for them to live.
How does hiring a guard dog work?
We inspect the area to see if it’s suitable for dogs to work there. We also plan the patrol route and where the dog will go to the toilet and rest. We see if the client has handlers qualified for the work; otherwise they can hire ours. There is a lot of communication beforehand, but we try to keep it short because if they feel there’s a risk of burglary or intruders, we want to bring them safety as soon as possible.
What’s the maximum number of dogs working at one site?
In private residences, up to three, each for a different part of the mansion. While the express railway site in West Kowloon was under construction, it attracted unauthorised photography and trespassing. The MTR hired four dogs to patrol the perimeter. It worked. There were no photo leaks afterwards, thanks to Nepalese gurkha guards and powerful-looking German shepherds.