Hong Kong argy bargy
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Hong Kong argy bargy

It was billed as a "good-natured rugby challenge amongst representatives of corporate Hong Kong". But last month's Professions Sevens 2002 tournament, with CSFB, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, CLSA and HSBC among those fielding teams, turned into a free-for-all.

Good-natured rugby challenge?

Witnesses say players "seemed more intent on beating the crap out of each other than anything else". It seems that the frustrations of a tough competitive year for bankers spilled over onto the playing field.

In addition to the punching, late tackling and loose boots, a complaint was also received by the organizers that teams were fielding ineligible players who had nothing to do with the companies. Apparently Merrill Lynch was a prime offender - savage cuts made over the past year have obviously taken their toll. But it wasn't the only guilty party. In the event's programme, CLSA explains how it picked its team. "After losing 84% of our colleagues, we have been forced by recent economic events to scrape not just the bottom of our own barrel but other people's barrels as well."

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