Triad-Related Gambling Raids in Hong Kong Lead to 335 Arrests

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In another sweeping crackdown on illicit gambling activities with alleged ties to organized crime, Hong Kong authorities have executed a series of raids targeting Triad-affiliated operations. The coordinated efforts resulted in the arrest of hundreds of individuals, marking a significant strike against the shadowy world of illegal gambling linked to Triad networks in the city.

Hong Kong police conducting a street patrol. They have arrested 335 people suspected of participating in triad-led illegal gambling and other activity. (Image: AFP)

Media outlet Dim Sum Daily reported that Hong Kong police have concluded a three-day operation resulting in the arrest of 335 individuals. It’s the latest in an ongoing and targeted crackdown on underground establishments linked to suspected Triad involvement in illegal gambling and prostitution.

The police conducted early morning raids at 223 entertainment properties across Hong Kong, including bars, nightclubs, saunas, mahjong parlors, and other recreational venues. Law enforcement efforts, as reported by the media outlet, led to the confiscation of weapons, mahjong tables, gambling chips valued at HKD1.8 million (US$230,580), and narcotics.

Respecting the Dead Through Illegal Activity

The detainees, ranging in age from 18 to 88, are now facing charges related to a long list of offenses that is still being created. Among the charges so far are operating illegal gambling parlors and brothels, possession of firearms, fraud, money laundering, property damage, and drug possession.

Notably, the arrests come in the wake of the funeral of the father of “Tsz Tung,” a former leader of the Hong Kong Wo Shing Wo triad. The deceased was involved in activities such as extortion, drug trafficking, and prostitution.

The funeral, which took place on November 9, drew a significant number of individuals associated with these criminal groups, as well as hundreds of mourners paying their respects. Given the potential for unrest during the funeral, authorities deployed anti-gang squad officers and the tactical unit of the West Kowloon Police District. Traffic control measures were implemented to manage the large crowds that gathered for the event.

Law enforcement is still investigating both the attendance at the funeral and the attendance at the entertainment venues. The increased number of triad-linked people in Hong Kong for the funeral made it easier for police to move in and sweep up the criminals. They also aren’t ignoring the fact that they came together in public, seemingly taunting Hong Kong’s ongoing efforts to end triad control.

Wo Shing Wo Defies Police

The Wo Shing Wo is one of the oldest and most prominent triad societies in Hong Kong, with a history dating back to the early 20th century. It has roots in Guangdong, China, and it played a significant role in the region’s underworld before establishing a formidable presence in Hong Kong.

The Wo Shing Wo triad has been involved in various criminal activities, including, but not limited to, extortion, drug trafficking, illegal gambling, prostitution, and violent activities such as turf wars.

Over the years, the organization has faced crackdowns by law enforcement in both China and Hong Kong, leading to periods of decline and resurgence. The triad has also been involved in internal conflicts and rivalries with other triad factions, contributing to a complex and dynamic underworld landscape in the region.

The triad’s tentacles stretch out of Hong Kong and China, as well. It has reportedly run drug operations in Australia and Europe, as well as Canada and other countries.

The Wo Shing Wo triad is allegedly active in France, where it controls the heroin trade alongside Albanian and Turkish gangs. It is also allegedly the largest criminal organization in the UK, operating in major cities across the country.

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