Satisfy Your Vengeance with Hong Kong’s Hit Women |


Want a totally legal way to satisfy your vengeance and take revenge on your former bestie or ex? You can head to Hong Kong and hire a hit woman to do the deed. The best part is, their services costs about as much as a new pair of an Air Force 1 (if you find the right ones).

The Original Avengers

This interesting ritual is known as da siu yan (打小人 in Chinese) or “villain hitting,” and it’s been around for a long while. This is predominantly a Cantonese practice which was once a popular form of folk sorcery in China’s Guangdong province and Hong Kong.

So if you want to exact revenge on someone, you simply head to Causeway Bay and find yourself the services of one of those aunties with a special set of skills under a bridge. Specifically, under the Ngo Keng Kiu, aka Canal Road Flyover. They can be found sitting in front of miniature shrines adored with Buddhist idol statues and incense sticks, sometimes shrouded in incense smoke.

Once you give your chosen auntie hit woman the name of your intended target, she’ll create a paper effigy in the shape of a human (your target). Then watch as she then beats the living pulp out of it with an old shoe against a stone slab. Watching someone bash an image of your enemy can be surprisingly cathartic, even if you may first have to try not to laugh.

This is because as she’s frantically whacking the effigy with a wooden slipper, she’ll be chanting (in Cantonese) phrases like “I’ll beat your face so your career will fail” or “I’ll beat your eyes so you can’t see the future.” You’ll probably also be thinking, “vengeance is mine!”

via Wikipedia

The practice makes violent vengeance legal, and it’s supposed to help dispel evil. The best part is that it can be done to anyone from cheating exes to unfriendly classmates, or even unlikeable celebrities or social media influencers. Word is that some politicians have been named, but after Beijing imposed the national security law on Hong Kong in June 2020, such requests from customers had stopped.

After the auntie’s done bashing – and the paper effigy is in tatters – the ritual is followed by a blessing to protect you from further harm. This involves a sacrifice to the Bai Hu, a mythical white tiger in Chinese belief, which will also (surprise, surprise) be in paper format. In the ritual, a little piece of pork soaked in pig blood is tucked into the paper tiger’s mouth to feed it, ensuring it won’t harm anyone. Sometimes, they also spread greasy pork on its mouth to keep it from opening and causing trouble. The auntie will then set the paper tiger alight, so this means that the tiger has been fed and won’t go hunting for you.

Paper tigers, via Wikipedia

Even if you don’t believe in superstition, “villain hitting” has a way of making you feel better, if not entertained. Of course there’s a different price for different aunties, and the “experts” can charge upwards of HKD1,000. But the competition among these villain-hitting aunties is pretty stiff, so the prices don’t vary too much, and each hitter has slightly different methods and effigies.

Some women claim that the ritual is more for helping people get better luck, and it’s not just about cursing someone else. But of course, it sounds more vengeful when curses are involved.

What sorcery is this?

The tradition of villain hitting originated in ancient agricultural societies in southern China, around Cantonese speaking regions like Guangdong and Guangxi. It’s tied to the “Awakening of Insects,” a period in spring when animals emerge from hibernation.

The tradition dates back over a thousand years to the Tang Dynasty, with farmers smearing pig’s blood on paper tigers to protect villagers from the white tiger. Over time, the practice evolved into using effigies representing human “villains” to curse and expel those who had wronged them.

These practices were practically outlawed by the time the Communist Party came to power across China in 1949. However, Hong Kong remained under British rule until 1997, so many people continued to practice these traditional Chinese customs.

via Wikipedia

While you can visit these villain hitters any time, there’s one day a year when throngs of people would congregate under the bridge and as many as 15-20 stalls are set up for business. There’s actually a season for revenge, and that usually falls in early March on the day of the “Awakening of Insects” – or Jingzhe (​​驚蟄) – which considered the ideal time to carry out the ritual.

Whether or not this voodoo works, it doesn’t really matter. People will still believe in some magic the same way we’d stay away from haunted apartments (and Hong Kong property listings have ‘is haunted‘ as a criteria). Those who come here seeking vengeance are sated, and those who are curious about the ritual understand this culture just a bit more. And while this practice isn’t widespread, some of these aunties have apprentices to ensure that the “villain hitting” tradition lives on.

Believe it or not, this ritual is apparently a cultural heritage that even the Hong Kong Tourism Board endorses!