Card Boom

简体中文Taiwan2007 / 30min / HDV
Director:Lin Hongjie

In Taiwan, each month some 40,000 people on average become “card slave” as a result of failing to meet credit card payment. Some people pay off one card with more cards, but end up unable to meet all his debt obligations. Pressed by heavy debts, the living standards of card slaves make a dramatic turn for the worse.


Banks try all they can to promote consumer finance, encouraging the public to realize their dreams through borrowing. At the same time the banks by technical financial maneuvers transfer debts to some asset management agencies that mafia operations in disguise. As a result, these criminal organizations use various threatening and violent means, all under the name of law, to force card slaves into making payments — far from realizing dreams, borrowing has become a nightmare in itself.


More and more people commit suicide, and the number of borrowers continue to break record. Unemployed parents, underachieving in education, lowering of living standards – card debts is spreading social-economical recessions and other related social problems across Taiwan.


The film traces the consumption experiences of two extreme individuals, and takes the audience on a tour to explore the credit card phenomena in Taiwan: Zheng Sanhe, the first Taiwanese “card slave” to successfully apply for bankruptcy. Not realizing what he had gotten into at first, Zheng was startled to find himself owing millions of Taiwan Dollars (TWD). Pressure from banks and threats from asset management companies forced Zheng into the vicious circle of sustaining one card with another; Yang Huiru, the first Taiwanese “card legend” who made a killing from a loophole in the credit card point program. Yang, with help from relatives and friends, took advantage of the loophole and accumulated huge amount of points through pooling together airline and consumer goods purchases. She then sold the points through online auctions. She earned over one million TWD before her card was canceled by the bank.


Speaking from her own experiences, Yang Huiru advised card slaves to face reality: “cut up the cards as soon as possible. The interest rate is too heavy. And don’t you think of paying back debt with more cards. It will only make yourself fall even deeper.”



Director:Lin Hongjie


As a senior video worker, Lin Hongjie is good at creating drama in his work, reminiscent of Japanese filmmaking. In 2006 he was candidate for Best Director of Golden Bell Award with his DETECTIVE STORY.


Documentary Works:
Sponsored by the National Culture and Art Foundation
1998/DANNY AND BONNIE (transfer of Hong Kong sovereignty)
1998/selected for Taibei Film Festival


From The Director


It’s an important moment when I picked up the video camera.

Video resources and trust in the production team are the biggest issues at the beginning of my shooting. I must overcome these issues and tell the story with clarity. I chose to stay on the conservative side in my storytelling, kept the black humor of the subject matter, because this phenomenon is ridiculous.

I tend to identify with anarchism, and have always been critical of some policies from the Taiwanese government. For example, the government offers financial help to large corporations and not individuals. Towards the end of this film, I find resources are insufficient and different voices from banking sector and the government are presented. To avoid falling into the trap of going against businesses, I made some minor changes to provide the audience with more objective data.

I am moved by many things in life. Making a documentary is the fastest way to expand the depth and scope of one’s experiences. I’ve seen the life of many, including their joy, anger, grief and happiness. In the making of a film, I engage in the process of self-examining. Making documentary is a bit like religion for me. It gives a much more profound experience than listening to a speech or watching a film.


Film Festival


※The 1st New Asia Film Festival (Vancouver), 2008