Urban management officers wielding steel rods beat up several real estate agents in southern China who taunted them for not being able to afford to buy a house, a local newspaper reported. The agents were advertising on a street in Shenzhen, the special economic zone city next to Hong Kong, when several guards confiscated their billboard and asked them to leave because they were interfering with traffic and “the city’s appearance”, the Southern Metropolis News reported. The officers wear uniforms similar to police but are hired from security firms by municipal governments to patrol streets and remove beggars and illegal hawkers. They are notorious for poor discipline and heavy handed methods that have at times caused serious injuries and even deaths. The guards encountered the agents earlier in the day and returned in the afternoon, ordering them to move on. The fight erupted when the agents refused to comply, and one taunted them: “Can you afford a house?” One of the agents suffered serious injuries to his back, elbows and legs, that will require several days of hospital treatment. Two others suffered light injuries. The officers were employees of a company that outsources security personnel, the report said. The security company said the officers would be dealt with severely.