When international soccer agent Tony Stephens put the final touches to the most talked about sports transfer deal ever this summer, you can be sure his meetings with David Beckham over his GBP25 million (HK$335.5 million) move from Manchester United to Real Madrid took place only in the most glamorous of settings. If Thomas Wong Kai-hung needs to talk his players through the small print of a contract, he heads for Chungking Mansions in Tsim Sha Tsui. It's curry, beer and cockroaches, not champagne and caviar, that seal his deals. Welcome to the world of soccer agents, Hong Kong-style. Like his cigar-chomping, sports car-driving Western counterparts, Thomas always takes his cut - 10 per cent to be precise - but in the embryonic world of Chinese soccer's wheeler dealers that is usually just enough to cover his modest overheads. Former private investigator and University of Hong Kong graduate, Mr Wong, who became the first FIFA registered soccer agent in Greater China after completing a Football MBA at Liverpool University in England in 2001, is sure he can pick the right team of clients to take him to the top. At 33, he has already spent a number of years running his own business as a private investigator and, while life as a gumshoe had its moments, there was always only one thing on his mind - football. After spotting the Liverpool course - a one-year mixture of business and football know-how - and completing it with a Chevening Scholarship through the British Council, Mr Wong ditched his dirty mac for a sheepskin jacket and entered what he hopes will one day be the glamorous world of soccer. From his fifth-floor office in Jordan, Mr Wong has already taken on and found footballing contracts for a handful of players and coaches in Hong Kong and the mainland. Most of his clients are from Cameroon in Africa, a footballing nation of no slouches who rocked the soccer establishment by beating the defending world champions Argentina 1-0 at the World Cup finals in Italy in 1990. Those were heady days for the African boys, many of whom, a decade on from that triumph see China, more so than Hong Kong, as their stepping stone into Europe and fame in the big leagues. 'I am a small entrepreneur but I love football. I always dreamed of becoming a professional within the football industry,' Mr Wong says. 'I figure it's always good to do something which is uncommon because the competition is relatively less intense. That's why I think this is a good business to get into early. You can rely on the quality of your service.' Mr Wong - who also has offices in Shenzhen and Guangzhou - describes the concept of soccer agents on the mainland as almost non-existent. But he says that with the top players on the mainland commanding annual salaries of upwards of US$500,000 - your average player in Hong Kong makes just HK$10,000 to HK$12,000 a month - the potential for that 10 per cent cut to take on a whole new meaning is definitely there. One of his charges, Cameroonian Akosah Julius, 22, for whom Mr Wong secured a contract with Hong Kong league team Sun Hei, says: 'I emailed some agents when I was still in Africa, looking for a contract in this part of the world and Thomas got back to me first. He talks to you straight and you know you aren't being spun a line, things are going okay. 'We often spend time here at Chungking Mansions to meet our friends from Africa. Thomas is often here too.' Fellow Cameroonian Emmanuel Enowkpa, 23, is also on Mr Wong's books and is on his way back to Africa to see his family after a stint playing for a Chinese league side in Donguan. 'Chinese football is definitely developing, many from my country see it as a possible link to Europe,' he says. For Mr Wong, the only way is up: 'It's all about contacts. I am beginning to make a network in China and already have my own contacts in Europe and Africa who work with me in finding clients. 'It took me a while to spot the fakes - players who arrived here saying they could play when they couldn't, but now I demand a video so there's no mistakes.' His days of beer and curry in the cosmopolitan melting pot of Chungking Mansions may just be paying off. As we speak, Mr Wong is pushing a possible deal to bring former England international and Arsenal star Graham Rix to the mainland as a coach. 'It's early days and it's just one of his options but you never know,' Mr Wong says.