The results of the so-called inspection were out. Thunder Horse Manufacturing’s automatic skateboard had serious safety hazards and there were environmental safety concerns in its production as well. Qiao Ping made a decision immediately and ruled that Thunder Horse Manufacturing had to stop the production of the automatic surfboard and suspend business for a month. They could only apply for an inspection to be carried out after rectifying the problem and production could only resume if that inspection was passed.
A few hundred workers gathered and threw angry questions at the Trade and Commerce and Quality Inspection Department employees. The venue was in chaos and looked set to get out of hand at any given moment.
“You’d better keep your people in line - If I or any of my people get so much as a scratch, you will all be in legal trouble for attacking law enforcement officers!” said Qiao Ping to Xia Lei.
“Who you trying to scare? No way you bozos didn’t get money for doing this!” Chen A’ Jiao had a fiery temper and an uncensored tongue. “Let me tell you that if you take away our rice bowl, we will go to your homes to eat from your rice bowls!”
“Yeah!” agreed fellow Workshop Director, Liu Xue-Bing as he said angrily, “These people must have been bribed to make trouble here. We’ll make a fuss at the Trade and Commerce Bureau if they take away our rice bowls. Anyone who has tents should bring tents! I’d like to see if these people can hide the truth from the masses!”
The workers shouted in agreement and looked ready to besiege the Trade and Commerce Bureau.
Xia Lei was having a headache trying to figure out how to deal with this crisis and the workers’ outburst gave him an idea. The workers argued fiercely but he kept quiet and watched the reactions of Qiao Ping and his people.
This Qiao Ping must have had some shady deal with the Gu clan and he would come to no good end either if the situation escalated. Hundreds of people protesting was not a joke in China and the people at fault could not escape.
As expected, Qiao Ping’s face darkened. “Xia Lei! Tell your people to quiet down!”
Xia Lei spoke only then. “Be quiet, everyone.”
The hundreds of workers went silent.
Qiao Ping handed a document to Xia Lei. “Sign this. Suspend business activity for a month and get inspected by us afterwards.”
“What basis do you have to make my entire factory suspend its operations?” said Xia Lei.
“Your product has potential safety hazards and there are also many problems with the production environment. Of course your entire factory has to be suspended. This document is in effect even if you don’t sign it. Your attitude will affect our next inspection,” said Qiao Ping.
Xia Lei laughed. “If that’s the case, then why do I have to sign this?”
“Humph!” Qiao Ping snorted, then said to a subordinate, “Put the workshops behind tape.”
An employee of the Trade and Commerce Bureau made a sound of agreement and walked towards the buildings.
Some workers made to block his way but Xia Lei stopped them.
Xia Lei put the document back in Qiao Ping’s hands and said, “Director Qiao, our company does not just manufacture automatic skateboards. Even if the skateboard is a safety hazard and has problems with quality, there is no reason for me to close my entire factory, is there? Hundreds have to be fed and insured. This is a big matter - won’t you give an explanation?”
Qiao Ping spoke rudely, “Why should I explain? I am going by the law. Do I need to give you an explanation? Do I need to give your workers an explanation? Xia Lei, you’d better take note of the nature of the situation. If you break the law, it will not be as simple as suspending business operations - you will go to prison!”
Xia Lei chuckled. “So far in my life I’ve sat in cars and trains but I haven’t yet sat in prison. What you say does make me want to experience what it’s like in prison.” He then said to his workers, “Back to production!”
Hundreds of workers dispersed and went of in the directions of their workshops.
The workers were also buzzing with conversation; Chairman Xia’s boldness was unparalleled!
“How dare you!” Qiao Ping was so mad his lips quivered. “How dare you belittle the law. Are you trying to turn everything upside-down, you punk?”
Xia Lei looked at him and said evenly, “Director Qiao, I don’t know how much you received from Gu Ke-Wen or Gu Ke-Wu. I have nothing to say about people wanting to make money but I have to remind you that some money should not be made. You’ve brought people here to seal up my factory but I have hundreds who depend on this factory to feed their families. You’d better take your people back with you. Stop causing trouble.”
“Bastard!” Qiao Ping was hopping mad. “I led my team here personally to enforce the laws and you tell me to take them back, and stop causing trouble? Do you take us for three-year-olds? I’m ordering you right now to stop production immediately! Shut it down for half a year!”
Xia Lei sneered, “Director Qiao, I am only being polite when I call you ‘Director Qiao’. Don’t think that you’re some bigshot. To put it plainly, you are an errand boy. If this were a war you would be just cannon fodder for the Gu clan.”
His words made Qiao Ping’s cheeks turn the colour of pig liver.
“You have no right to make my workers stop production. Do call Gu Ke-Wen or Gu Ke-Wu here.” Xia Lei was not letting him keep his dignity any longer.
“Fine. Fine!” Qiao Ping laughed in anger and said to a subordinate, “Call the city enforcement team and get them to help. I don’t believe that I won’t be able to seal you up today!”
Xia Lei turned to say to Guan Ling-Shan, “Call the media reporters to come.”
“Nn, I’ll contact them right away.” Guan Ling-Shan walked off to one side and dialled the hotline for the media reporters.
After only a few minutes, over ten vans appeared along the road in front of Thunder Horse Manufacturing. The doors to the vans opened and men wearing helmets with ‘City Enforcement’ on them came out, carrying wooden clubs and steel pipes. They walked to the main gates of Thunder Horse Manufacturing.
This group of men numbered over a hundred and each and every one of them looked fierce and acted arrogantly. They did not look like proper ‘City Enforcement’ at all but like street thugs.
Before the group of men entered the factory grounds, however, Qin Xiang blocked the entryway, flanked by a big group of aunties with mops and brooms. The women had come to help Lu Sheng with security. Thunder Horse Manufacturing had just a few security guards and the few men were no match for a group of over a hundred.
Guan Ling-Shan had called the media but not one of them had turned up yet. The other side, however, had over a hundred turn up - this was obviously pre-arranged. Once Thunder Horse Manufacturing forcefully resumed operations, these ‘City Enforcement’ officers would appear and damage the factory so badly it would be forced to close!
Xia Lei wrinkled his brows. Over a hundred thugs had come; Thunder Horse Manufacturing had the advantage in numbers but they were surely not as good at fighting as these people. He could not let his workers participate in a fight of hundreds either - there was no controlling the chaos. If someone got injured, he would also suffer as the owner of the business. Furthermore, no damage would be done to either Gu Ke-Wen or Gu Ke-Wu even if Thunder Horse Manufacturing won this battle. On the other hand, the Gu siblings would take delight in seeing a large number of injuries because Xia Lei would get into even more trouble the bigger the matter got!
The enforcement officers came to the entrance and some of the leaders pushed the aunties to get them to make way. Qin Xiang and Lu Sheng had martial arts skills and were not afraid to stand right in front. Both sides were ready to fight in an instant.
“Qin Xiang, take your people back to the supermarket!” shouted Xia Lei.
Qin Xiang hesitated and looked at Xia Lei, confused.
Xia Lei spoke again, “You too, Big Brother Sheng. Tell your men to move aside. Let them come in.”
Lu Sheng and Qin Xiang exchanged glances. They did not understand why Xia Lei was doing this but they obeyed. Lu Sheng told his men to withdraw and Qin Xiang told the supermarket aunties to return to the supermarket.
The fierce ‘City Enforcement’ officers passed through the gates and surrounded Xia Lei.
“What are you people doing?” Xia Xue grew nervous.
Xia Lei raised his voice, “Go back to the office.”
Xia Xue spoke anxiously, “Brother, they…”
Xia Lei gave her a fierce glare. “Listen to me and go back to the office! You too, Ling-Shan!”
Xia Xue was not happy to go at all and Guan Ling-Shan had to pull her into the office building. Guan Ling-Shan let go of Xia Xue’s hand when they got up to the second floor and took out her phone to record a video.
Qiao Ping’s arrogance increased with the arrival of his reinforcements. He spoke scornfully, “Xia Lei, I’ll say it once more - tell your workers to stop production immediately! If you do not comply, our enforcement officers will take forceful action.”
The workers who had just gone into the workshops not long ago walked out again and they were not empty-handed this time. They held various tools like hammers and spanners in their hands.
Qiao Ping’s expression changed and he spoke a little nervously. “Hold your people in line! What are they doing? You want them to go to prison too?”
Xia Lei turned to his workers. “Back, everybody! Wait for me to notify you.”
Xia Lei had an air of authority and the workshop directors brought their workers back to the workshops at his word. However, they did not go back to work - they got ready to charge out and fight.
“Sign.” Qiao Ping put the document which ordered Xia Lei to suspend his business operations in Xia Lei’s hand.
Xia Lei held the document in his hand but his gaze went to the space beyond the gates of the factory. A blue-black Bugatti Veyron had stopped by the side of the road. The windows of the car did not scroll down but Xia Lei saw the two people in it at once.
The one driving was Gu Ke-Wu and the one in the passenger seat was Gu Ke-Wen.
The Gu siblings looked rather gleeful. They had to see Thunder Horse Manufacturing being sealed up no matter what.
Xia Lei stopped looking at them and said to Qiao Ping, “Director Qiao, I’ll talk to you later. Your bosses are here. I’ll go greet them.”
Qiao Ping spotted the Bugatti Veyron by the side of the road too and knew who were sitting in there. He pretended not to have heard Xia Lei’s words and did not declare which side he was on. He watched Xia Lei move the ‘City Enforcement’ officers aside one at a time as he made his way to that Bugatti Veyron and a small sneer appeared on his lips. “You dare fight with them? You overestimate yourself.”
Xia Lei walked out the gates and went to the driver’s side of the car. He reached out a hand and knocked on the glass of the car window.
The window of the Bugatti Veyron scrolled down and Gu Ke-Wu looked at Xia Lei with a faint smile on his lips. “Well, isn’t this Chairman Xia? What’s happened? Why are there so many people?”
“You know very well what’s happened,” said Xia Lei.
“Sorry, we’re just passing by and just so happened to see so many people; we stopped to take a look. Oh, right, is there some trouble? Do you need my help? Beg me and I may think of a solution for you.”
Gu Ke-Wen snorted. “He’s already hard-pressed, Big Brother. Don’t say any more - he’ll be hurt.”
“Oh? Really? My apologies.” Gu Ke-Wu made an apology, then laughed loudly.
Xia Lei laughed too.Previous Chapter Next Chapter