Life in cash transportation

By Chen Boyuan
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, February 19, 2014
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Beneath those helmets these security guards are just ordinary young men with a love for life and family. [file photo]

They may look tough, wearing amour vests and carrying shotguns at the bank gates to secure cash transfers twice a day, yet beneath those helmets these security guards are just ordinary young men with a love for life and family.

One job advertisement for Guangzhou-based Suibao Armored Escort Company only bears two requirements: male, aged between 20 and 35.

Xie Qiang, 30, is one of the thousands of security guards working for the company. Six years ago, he qualified for the profession after an orientation.

The month-long orientation was conducted in paramilitary style, which required getting up at 6:00 a.m., followed by tidying up the room and a a day-long training that included jogging, physical exercise, firearms training and in-class studies. "It feels no different from the military," he said.

As the session concluded, Xie was issued a helmet, a uniform and body armor. In addition, he was licensed to carry a 95-Type shotgun, meaning he was now officially in the armored escort services.

"The company is closed to the outside. It applies paramilitary management even during non-working hours. We are required to return to the base dormitory before 11:00 p.m. and tidy up our bunks," he said.

Escorting cash transports may seem like a mysterious undertaking to outsiders, but is just routine for Xie. After getting up at 6:10 a.m., he and his fellow guards will often work till noon. "Sometimes we even work till 2:00 p.m., with no time for lunch," he said. But that is only the first streak of work, since at 3:00 p.m., they will repeat the entire process and don’t finish until 7:00 or even 8:00 p.m., he added.

Xie's colleague Fang Jie confirmed this. He said security guards working in the company do not get the weekends off, but do have other designated days off instead.

Despite the long working hours, their income is meager. As a veteran worker, Xie still only gets 3,100 yuan (US$512) each month. This imbalance is just unable to keep employees with the company. Xie explained how a 1,000-people sized armored escort company would lose 1,000 staffers each year.

Xie chose this profession because he thought carrying a gun would make him look cool. Nevertheless, after six years of this repetitive lifestyle, he considers his work "no different than that of any regular security guard." He even admitted to being nervous sometimes when carrying the firearm as it contains three bullets.

His proven clean track record over the past six years recently won him a permanent contract with the company, meaning that the company cannot fire him unless he messes up.

"Now, my hopes and expectations are to get a higher pay and more time with my family," Xie said.

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