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Pleasure or Pain? How Hong Kong Consumes Illicit Drugs

“Hey... your father sniffs ‘K’!”

This iconic line first appeared in the early 2000s cult hit by Hong Kong rap group MP4, charting how underground rave venues were washed up with first ecstasy, then ketamine, and then finally cocaine. What makes one type of high particularly—and dangerously—attractive, and how does Hong Kong consume drugs?

With tales from Hong Kong’s underworld, Karen investigates the cultural significance of locally trending drugs, and the impact of global trade of illicit substances.

This talk will be delivered in English.




Karen Laidler is a Professor of Sociology and Director of the Centre for Criminology at the University of Hong Kong. Her research focuses on drugs, sex work, youth gangs and women’s imprisonment. A native San Franciscan, she has been involved in criminological research since the 1980s, working with non-profit organizations and government agencies in Northern California. She moved to Hong Kong in the 1990s, and has witnessed the development of the city’s drug market over the past decades. Her recent projects include a study on parallel trading between Hong Kong and mainland China, and its implications for identity politics.



7:30 PM @ Libertine