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Hundreds are Arrested by Hong Kong Police in Gambling Raids Connected to Triads

February 28, 2023 Crime & Legal

In Asia, the triads are known for using illegal gambling, narcotics, and sex as their main marketing strategies. Understanding this aids law enforcement in finding criminals, and Hong Kong officials used it to make a significant bust of triad members during an operation.

In an effort to root out gang-controlled violence, police detained 234 people on Thursday, including dozens of suspected triad members. According to police updates cited by The South China Morning Post (SCMP), authorities raided 15 gaming establishments and two brothels, finding a storage facility for illegal cigarettes and other contraband.

The media outlet was informed by an unnamed source that several triads were in charge of the assets. The triad gangs are still engaged in a turf war in Hong Kong that includes kidnapping, murder, and street warfare. The raids are a part of an operation the police dubbed Levington.

Hong Kong attempts to eradicate triads
The raids resulted in the recovery of illegal drugs worth HK$220,000 (US$28,039), counterfeit cigarettes worth HK$4.5 million (US$573,300), and gambling chips worth HK$2 million (US$254,800). Together with numerous weapons and vehicles, police also seized HK$1.93 million (US$245,882) in cash.

As part of its continuous campaign to purge the area of criminal organizations, Hong Kong’s Organized Crime and Triad Bureau planned the operation. Although not all of the individuals the police detained had direct connections to the triads, even those who didn’t know whose houses were the targets of the raids.

173 men and 97 women out of the 234 detained detainees are male. Although 12 of those detained are from mainland China, the majority are from Hong Kong. Many were confirmed members of various triads, the SCMP’s source told it.

A wide range of charges, including criminal intimidation, money laundering, drug trafficking, possession of illegal firearms, illegal gambling, dealing in stolen goods, and assault, will be brought against almost everyone who is taken into custody.

The Hong Kong Police Force has concentrated on the triads and has no intention of stopping. Police would “spare no effort to crack down on triad activities and prevent their sources of income, and maintain a zero-tolerance stance towards such unlawful activities,” according to a statement released by the authorities on Friday.

Devoted Work Is Paying Off
The Hong Kong police expanded their anti-triad efforts in 2022, looking into 2,554 incidents of crimes involving triads. This demonstrates a concerted attempt to drive out the gangs because it was a 35% increase from a year earlier. There were 1,353 cases in 2019 and 1,769 cases in 2020.

An unfavorable foundation serves as the source of the increase in targeted efforts. It’s because crimes involving the “triad”—illegal gambling, prostitution, and auto theft—have increased.

Three people were injured in a gunfight between triad factions in June of last year. Four months later, two individuals who switched triads were attacked by thugs. In 2022, switching sides increased, leading to a number of faction-on-faction retaliation strikes.

Police destroyed a group that was selling stolen guns and vehicles to triads in the same month.

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