17 January 2002: Twenty-year-old David Paget sat in the departure lounge of
New York's JFK International Airport beside thirty-five-year-old Sue Lynne.
They looked an unlikely pair: David in torn denims, Sue Lynne in a smart
business suit. A casual observer might have mistaken them for a lawyer and
her client, a sporting personality perhaps. The young man radiated health
and vitality: tall and muscular in his tight-fitting T-shirt and tattered jeans.
Girls at a neighboring table couldn't take their eyes off him.
Sue Lynne cast a disapproving eye at the young ladies and opened a
plastic folder. She was a slim woman of Asian appearance with pale skin and
a delicate bone structure. It wasn't difficult to imagine that she had once been
very beautiful. But her natural good looks were marred by a tenseness of
expression that suggested a recent illness. She glanced nervously at her
„You'll soon be called for boarding, David. We need to go over what you
have to do in Hong Kong.' She ran a finger down the folder as if checking
items on a list. „First you are to book in at the Pearl River Guesthouse, then
you are to go to Doris' apartment. Are you sure you know where it is?'
David took a sheet of paper from his pocket.
„It's where you've marked it on this map but it won't be easy to find because
the area is being redeveloped and a lot of buildings have been demolished.'
He spoke in a crisp voice as if reciting instructions.
„How do you get there?'
„I'm to show the map to a taxi driver. It says in Chinese that Doris' place is
near an ancient temple. It should still be standing.'
„Good.' Sue Lynne relaxed a little. „When you have made contact with
Doris, what are you to do?'
„I'm not to hurry anything. Just play it cool. Real cool.' David leant forward
earnestly. „Give her the money and talk about you and Charlie … say you
need the suitcase to get her back to Australia.'
„When you have the suitcase and you've taken it to the guesthouse, what
do you do then?'
„I have to repack the contents into the new case. The old one may attract
the attention of the Hong Kong authorities. They might think we are trying to
smuggle out national treasures. We are not. Everything in it belongs to your
family. It is family memorabilia …'
He was struggling over the pronunciation of the last word when a boarding
call brought them to their feet.
„Goodbye, David.' She leant forward and kissed him fully on the lips.
David returned the kiss. „Goodbye, Sue Lynne. I'll give your regards to
everyone back home.'
„No!' A look of alarm sped across her face. „You're not to tell anyone we
„But I've always done so in the past.'
„In the past, we didn't have quite the same relationship.'
„They'll never guess,' he grinned.
„I wouldn't be so sure, David.'