Photo: Eric Stone
Photo: Eric Stone
Photo: Eric Stone
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The Living Room of the Dead In 1994, Gary Alderdice, a lawyer from New Zealand who was living in Hong Kong, fell in love with a Russian prostitute from Vladivostok named Natalia Samofalova who was working in the Skylight Nightclub in Macau. He spent enormous sums of money buying her out of the club every night. Finally, the two holed up together at the Westin Resort on Macau's Coloane Island, trying to figure out what to do next.

The two disappeared. They were next seen in Vladivostok, Russia's Far East seaport, dead. Alderdice had been shot through the eye. Natalia had been tortured and then finally shot in the head.

The police investigation indicated that the New Zealand lawyer from Hong Kong had been carrying US$150,000 in cash, presumably to buy the Russian woman out of her contract with the Russian mafia. The money was, of course, missing.

The murders have never been solved. Following the murders, there was a crackdown on Russian prostitution in Macau. Today, there are still plenty of Russian prostitutes in Macau, but the trade is mostly controlled by Chinese and Korean mafia groups.

The basic facts of THE LIVING ROOM OF THE DEAD, are unfortunately all too true. As are most of the locales. The nightclubs and brothels in the book are all based on real places. Black Island, where the most horrific scenes take place, is based on a combination of fact and rumor.

There are several "pleasure islands" in the South China Sea near Hong Kong and Macau. You can find brochures for them in offices near the ferry terminals in both cities. The islands offer prostitution, gambling, sometimes drugs and often restaurants that serve endangered and other species that are illegal to eat in both Hong Kong and Macau.

Though there is no concrete documentation of a pleasure island that specializes in catering to sexual sadists, one has long been rumored. In my opinion, if a market exists for such a thing—which it does—it exists.

The islands, at least in the past, were either run by, or at the very least existed with the knowledge and collusion of, the navy of the People's Republic of China.