Store snitches for Amex will do nicely

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 May, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 May, 1999, 12:00am

While America wages war against oppression in Kosovo, American Express has been waging its own war against suppression in Hong Kong.

Amateur spies are being recruited to help the credit card giant ferret out traitors in our midst.

Their names are being entered into the 'wage war on suppression database'.

It's all very cloak and dagger.

The Amex people liken suppressors to wolves in disguise.

The recruitment poster shows a flock of harmoniously grazing sheep.

A circle, denoting the all seeing eye of the Amex 'Super Spotter', unmasks a wolf that has infiltrated the flock.

But what sinister acts are these beasts engaging in? Apparently they've neglected to place their 'American Express Welcome' material on display.

These people must be hunted down.

The recruits are also targeting establishments where 'other cards' signage is more prominently displayed'.

'Report Suppression . . . Now!' the text urges. 'Be alert and be a winner!' Member bonus points will be awarded for every referral, and there's a $2,000 Amex credit prize for the person who unmasks the most suppressors.

The best team wins $3,000 and a trophy.

How MacCarthyesque.

These days, it's rare to see people get credit for snitching. Lai See likes a good spy story.

So we were intrigued by a conspiracy theorist's story of murderous British royals colluding with MI6 to kill Princess Diana.

A bizarre news Web site spins a dark tale of betrayal that begins in an English palace, wends through MI6's corridors of power and ends with a car wreck in a Paris tunnel.

More disturbing for Britain's real cloak and dagger types is the list that follows.

It contains what purports to be the names of MI6's secret agents working overseas.

Well, agents anyway. It would appear the secret's out.

You've probably already heard about the numerous Web sites now carrying the list believed to have been posted by a disgruntled ex-MI6 officer.

Now living in exile in Geneva, Richard Tomlinson allegedly revealed the names of 117 former colleagues.

The list also gives their birth dates and the cities they were posted in.

But the entry for Timothy Clayden contains a little extra information.

Mr Tomlinson added a classification to the end of Mr Clayden's list of vital statistics that sets him apart from his fellow agents.

Lai See's razor sharp intuition tells her that the Mr Clayden was not the disgraced former agent's favourite colleague.

His information reads: '91 Warsaw, 95 Lagos; Date of Birth 1960; Wanker'. Seems there wasn't much James Bonding going on between those two.

Candour is so refreshing. Particularly when it takes bizarre forms and comes from a bank chairman.

Krung Thai Bank chairman Mechai Viravaidya is claiming that fund managers only want him for his body.

'I will be seeing bland fund managers and so on,' Mr Mechai told a Business Post reporter.

'I know how to play it. I will be saying bland simple things because they are bland simple people.

'It is like a beauty contest . . . they want to see my legs and body. They are not interested in my brains just yet.' We hear Harrods chief Mohamed al-Fayed wants his mummy.

The Egyptian-born tycoon has just lost his long battle for a British passport.

So he's decided to return to his roots.

After he dies, the man dubbed the 'Phoney Pharaoh' wants his body to be mummified and entombed in the dome of his prestigious London department store, a spokesman told Reuters news agency.

He was also said to have hinted that he wants to be cloned so that he can come back and haunt the British political establishment.

The spokesman said Mr al-Fayed had often spoken in a light-hearted way about being mummified, but added that he was 'probably serious'.

It's nice to see Egyptian death traditions are still alive.

But we don't think it will be good for business.

Most people would be a bit put off by the idea of buying their food from under a corpse.

Lai See urges Mr al-Fayed to rethink his plans before his company goes bankrupt.

We hate to see people get wound up for nothing.