How to Hire a Hit Man

The Ultimate Hit Man?

[Extract from the Book: How to Drive a Tank…and Other Everyday Tips for the Modern Gentleman. ]

If the office politics have really got out of hand you may need to up the ante. Passive aggression is just aggression after all. So if the only way out or up is to off the competition you could go back to that ‘hardest pub in town’ we visited back in the How to Get a Gun section and have a chat with the guy who thinks he’s a little tasty.

He will of course listen attentively to what you have to say then one of three things will happen:

  • He will agree to do the job and ask you to pay him an ‘advance’ to recce the mark. When you follow up to find out when it’s about to happen he will simply say, ‘What advance?’
  • You will be arrested as he is actually a cop.
  • If the pub is in Glasgow you will hand over your £20 and wait in the pub, your alibi. He will return when the job is done and probably bum a cigarette off you.

If you are determined to shoot your way to the top you could hire a professional of course. To do this you would need to have connections either in organised crime or with government departments with the preface ‘Secret’. They usually call their hit men assassins; it’s the same job only with more foreign travel and a pension.

If you look online you could try, an American firm that specialises in ‘reliable contract killing’. For a mere $50,000 per head (excuse the pun) your basic contract includes: ‘a simple killing that is traditionally accomplished by administering two rounds of ammunition, at close range, into the back of the head, through a silenced .32 calibre pistol. Typically the mark doesn’t even feel a thing. We use Glaser Safety Slugs that ensure a guaranteed kill, by exploding and fragmenting inside the brain. Thanks to the small calibre pistol the entry wound is extremely small; sometimes the external damage is so minimal that the entry wound can be completely covered by the hair and is often not immediately apparent to a medical examiner [. . .]. Typically, there is no exit wound. Furthermore, we use untraceable, first-time-use weapons.’

Very professional, I’m sure you’ll agree. Quality control is important whatever line of work you’re in. However if you’re foolish enough to send them a cheque or even ask to join their organisation then expect a sarcastic email and at best a company T-shirt with ‘STAFF’ emblazoned on it.

There are many reasons to hire a hit man; the usual ones are to improve your job prospects or solve a business dispute, to secure your inheritance, get rid of a spouse because you’re not man enough to ask for a divorce or simply to put that noisy dog next door out of your misery. A real hit goes something like this recent one on notorious Colombian cocaine lord Leonidas Vargas as reported by

Madrid January 2009

A man with his face partly covered by a cap and scarf entered room 537 at a hospital in the Spanish capital.

‘Are you Leonidas Vargas?’ he asked one of the two patients in the room with a South American accent. The patient pointed to the man sleeping in the other bed.

‘Turn your back and keep quiet,’ the visitor instructed, turned towards the other patient, and shot him four times with a gun equipped with a silencer.

By the time doctors and nurses had rushed into the room, the killer and his suspected accomplice, who had kept guard behind the door, were gone.

Still now you know that if a potential hit man ever asks you if you’re you, say no.

One wannabe hit man, a Mr Essam Eid, an Egyptianborn poker dealer living in Las Vegas, apparently couldn’t wait to get his hands dirty and set up a website called under the alias Tony Luciano.

A woman with the contact name Lying Eyes hired him to kill Irishman P. J. Howard and his two sons for €90,000. Lying Eyes turned out to be Howard’s partner Sharon Collins. According to the Irish Times Howard said at the closing of her trial, ‘Sharon has a very positive outlook on life and she was very loving and giving of her time to our extended families.’ A bit too attentive and giving of her time perhaps. Eid double-crossed Collins and demanded €100,000 from Howard to call it off. Maybe she should have asked the guy down the pub.

Still there’s definitely a market for it. A quick Google will find you a few more virtual hit men touting for business.

Alternatively she could have done it herself by getting hold of a copy of the controversial book Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors originally published by Paladin Press in 1983.

In 1993 a triple murder was committed in Montgomery County, Maryland, by James Perry who may have used the book as his guide. He was hired by Lawrence T. Horn to retrieve the proceeds of a trust fund that resulted from his ex-wife suing a hospital. The families of Mildred Horn, her son Trevor and her nurse Janice Saunders then sued Paladin Press and won. Since then although the book is not in the public domain it has been published on the internet. I’ll be sure to post a link to it on my website.

You could also ask your trader friends about Assassination Markets. These are theoretical prediction markets where anyone can make a trade (place a bet) using anonymous electronic money and pseudonymous remailers on the future date of death of a given individual and collect a large payoff if they ‘guess’ the date accurately.

Any would-be assassin is then incentivised to make the kill on the correct date and collect their winnings. Because payment is simply the payout from a bet, or shorted stock, it is significantly more difficult to assign criminal liability for the hit.

The theoretical set-up was initially proposed in 1994 and then according to, ‘These issues arguably left the realm of the theoretical when U.S. stock markets based in Manhattan took a trillion-dollar hit in September 2001. A serious investigation was launched in Autumn 2001 by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to determine whether large blocks of short-sold airline stock could be traced back to Al Qaeda, the group responsible for the terrorist acts carried out on the 11th of September; the investigation eventually announced that the short-selling was part of a legitimate hedging strategy unconnected to Al Qaeda or other extremist groups, but did not disclose the identities of the beneficiaries.’

The extensive cooperation of fundamentalist terrorist groups and suggestions that they were in fact trading targets and objectives in different nations, gave rise to the idea that a covert assassination swap market may well already be in global operation. A group could perform an action in one place and a seemingly unrelated group in another place would profit from the act.

There’s clearly a market for assassination at many different levels of society. Unfortunately the reality is nothing like the romantic image portrayed in movies. Russia currently holds the title for most hit men per capita with their penchant for poisonings, gold chains and tacky sports gear while the cowardly religious men of Iraq are paying $100 per head for ‘honour’ killings. According to the Guardian in 2008 eighty-one women or girls were executed in Basra alone.

There is also another kind of wannabe hit man out there and one you need to be on the look out for. In 2006 emails started to appear from senders claiming to be hit men hired to kill the recipient. They would then demand money to not take the job, just like Mr Eid. In 2007 the emails grew a little more sophisticated with claims that they were the FBI in London. By 2007, 115 complaints had been lodged with the FBI.

In one case a recipient responded that he wanted to be left alone and threatened to call the authorities. The scammer, who was demanding an advance payment of $20,000, emailed back and reiterated the threat this time with some personal details about the recipient – his work address, marital status and daughter’s full name. Then an ultimatum: ‘TELL ME NOW ARE YOU READY TO DO WHAT I SAID OR DO YOU WANT ME TO PROCEED WITH MY JOB? ANSWER YES/NO AND DON’T ASK ANY QUESTIONS!!!’

Bill Shore, a special agent who supervises the computer crime squad in the FBI’s Pittsburgh field office, said recipients should not be overly spooked when scammers incorporate their intended victims’ personal details in their schemes.

‘Personal information is widely available,’ he said. ‘Even if a person does not use the Internet or own a computer they could still be the victim of a computer crime such as identity theft.’

The basic rule is if ever you are approached like this don’t respond. You have been warned.

Illustrations copyright © Used with kind permission.