I would not be surprised if the men thought they could trick the American crew into giving up more money but regardless if legit or not, it was a pretty stupid thing to do. Considering the Chinese media and government is paying close attention to production I suspect those three are about the have the communist equivalent of the wrath of god come down on them. Both the Chinese government and Hollywood are hoping to have more "cooperation agreements" on future productions but Hollywood studios are not going to be as willing if their cast and crew are going to be in danger.
Update: Michael Bay posted on his site about the incident, providing more details. Thanks to Feris O. for the heads-up. Meanwhile, Jeffrey Marshall provided an image of the "real" culprit.
Hi, it’s Michael.
Yes, the story is being passed around is not all true! Yes, some drugged up guys were being belligerent asses to my crew for hours in the morning of our first shoot day in Hong Kong. One guy rolled metal carts into some of my actors trying to shake us down for thousands of dollars to not play his loud music or hit us with bricks.
Every vendor where we shot got paid a fair price for our inconvenience, but he wanted four times that amount. I personally told this man and his friends to forget it we were not going to let him extort us. He didn’t like that answer. So an hour later he came by my crew as we were shooting, carrying a long air conditioner unit. He walked right up to me and tried to smack my face, but I ducked threw the air unit on the floor and pushed him away. That’s when the security jumped on him. But it took seven big guys to subdue him. It was like a Zombie in Brad Pitt’s movie World War Z—he lifted seven guys up and tried to bite them. He actually bit into one of the guards Nike shoe, insane. Thank god it was an Air Max, the bubble popped, but the toe was saved.
Then it took fifteen Hong Kong cops in riot gear to deal with these punks. In all, four guys were arrested for assaulting the officers.
After that, we had a great day shooting here in Hong Kong.