By Laurie Smith
150 years ago the verb SHANGHAI came into use as a way of saying kidnapped and kidnapping. 300 years ago crimpers were men whose business was to kidnap men and sell them to ships. They operated out of the seediest parts of London and their “blood money” allowed them to hire runners and bribe officials and the police. A nice man offers cheap alcohol and the next thing one knew they were in a lock house waiting to board a ship. 150 years ago crimpers set up shop in American and British coastal towns. Crimpers were now called Ships Masters and Boarding Masters. They ran boarding houses for seaman whom often were taken from ships to be sold to other ships. Now, they were paid per man no matter how sickly the man was. The victim’s advance pay was given to the boarding master to buy clothes and other items but the boarding master kept the money and sold the clothes to the victim at a high cost. SHANGHAI lasted until 100 years ago then slowly it was just another word for kidnapping.
How does a brutal criminal empire come to play in current life? The boarding masters rivaled …read more