Police deny triads are on the rise in Lan Kwai Fong
A police insider has rejected a media report that the entertainment district of Lan Kwai Fong has become a hotbed of triad activity, with recent triad-linked arrests in the area put down to a fight rather than gangster activities.
A Chinese-language newspaper reported that Lan Kwai Fong, as Hong Kong's favourite entertainment area, had seen an increase in gang activity as triads hired more English-speaking South Asians and Africans to collect 'protection' money, sell drugs and solicit sex in the area.
But a police source denied the reports and said an increased police presence at weekends was aimed at stopping fights and dealing with people who had drunk too much rather than more serious crimes.
'We're just there on Friday and Saturday nights - any time between 3am and 6am - to keep an eye on those coming out of the nightclubs. That's the only reason that we're there,' the source said.
'None of this has anything to do with organised crime and it's pretty straightforward police work. It may be regarded as an expatriate haunt but the majority of people are local Chinese.'
Triad-related arrests were made a couple of weeks ago, but they were due to a fight between triad members and revellers in the early hours of the morning rather than gang activity.
'This was a one-off incident. To have any triad-related crimes occurring in Lan Kwai Fong is unheard of,' the source said.
'It's generally to do with people who have had too much alcohol. And it's nowhere near as bad as the antics you'd have to put up with in the likes of London or New York.'
The source admitted that Lan Kwai Fong was a regular haunt for prostitutes, although prostitution is far more widespread in Wan Chai.
He described the bouncers operating at all the entertainment area's bars and clubs as very professional, adding that none of them are controlled by triads.
'We work very closely with them and have built up a good rapport. We work well together and have a good relationship,' the source said.
At weekends a minimum of 10 police officers would be on patrol in the Lan Kwai Fong area. This can increase to 20-30 officers if the police tactical unit is involved in raids on the nightclubs there.
But even when such raids are carried out, the intention is to show a police presence and let drinkers know that they are there, rather than because anything illegal is going on.
Police officers are generally positioned at the junction of Wellington Street and D'Aguilar Street and outside the 7-Eleven stores.
Other officers would be on Wyndham Street, where out-of-service taxis sometimes disrupt traffic.
The minimum number of police officers on patrol in Lan Kwai Fong at weekends.
-This can increase to 30 if clubs are raided