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China Daily Website

Tricks of the trade

Updated: 2013-07-02 11:03
By Mei Jia ( China Daily)

After reading former FBI agent Robert King Wittman's book about tracking down art thieves, screenwriter and critic Shi Hang says Wittman is a real-life Indiana Jones.

Shi says he was most impressed when reading Wittman's five techniques used by undercover agents.

At a lecture in Beijing, Wittman says he hopes the five steps can be useful to help the readers secure a good job.

"Because they are basic ways to connect and get along with people," Wittman says.

He summarizes the steps as assessing the object, starting association, establishing friendship, betraying and going home safe.

"It's much like selling a product. You should try to win trust and utilize the trust," he says.

"And the main point is getting to know human nature."

Throughout his career, Wittman believed that people who do bad things are not necessarily evil.

"They don't think the way you do, or they made mistakes. And that happens," he says.

In his time as an undercover agent working on retrieving art and cultural properties, Wittman had his rules of the job, which he records in detail in the book.

"I worked in 20 countries, and I don't do cases locally," he says.

"And I always told the criminals the truth, even of my personal situation."

Even undercover, he talked about being married and having three children and spoke about places and topics he knew well.

"Basically the cases took a long time. You tell the truth to minimize the lies," he says.

He adds that he would never put his family members in jeopardy.