Anti-triad sting nets C.Y. quartet
Simpson Cheung and Tanna Chong
At least four people who attended a dinner that left the chief executive's election campaign embroiled in rumours of triad links are among 130 arrested in an anti-triad crackdown.
The meeting in February between rural leaders and Leung Chun-ying's campaign aides became an election issue due to the presence of controversial businessman Kwok Wing-hung, known as 'Shanghai Boy'.
Kwok and fellow diner 'Little Boy' Cheung Chuen-hon are understood to have been arrested, as were rural leaders Tsang Shu-wo and Tang Lai-tung, who are campaigning for Chan Keung in the Legco elections.
Police launched a two-day operation on Wednesday, targeting crimes including the laundering of HK$300 million. Some 200 police officers raided 21 locations, arrested 130 people and seized HK$8 million in crime proceeds, including HK$3.4 million in local and foreign currencies, 11 watches and two cars.
The officers were from the organised crime and triad bureau (OCTB), the narcotics bureau and the New Territories North region.
Anti-triad operations on such a scale are rare in the New Territories.
The raids were part of a joint operation with Macau and Guangdong police against the triad groups Wo Shing Wo and 14K, both active in Yuen Long district. Prominent office bearers are believed to be among those arrested.
Police denied the operation had anything to do with the elections, although some rural politicians believe there could be indirect links. OCTB Superintendent Lau Shu-sing said police started their investigation late last year, and intelligence showed that HK$300 million was being laundered by the two sophisticated, mid-sized gangs over the past two years.
'There is intelligence suggesting that a group of triads used their own accounts and accounts of their wives and mistresses to launder a large amount of money,' Lau said.
Chief Superintendent Kwok Ho-fai said police were investigating whether the money laundering involved any property investments.
'The triad personalities obtain their profits from illegal activities such as [running] gambling dens and then investing the money to buy expensive items, creating an illusion that they get the profits from lawful means,' Kwok said.
Some 110 people were arrested in four gambling dens. Police said the dens were making HK$100,000 a day for the two gangs.
The 84 men and 46 women, aged 30 to 69, were detained on suspicion of money laundering, running illegal gambling and vice dens, and selling illicit fuel. Some of those arrested remained in police custody.
The operation was still under way and police did not rule out more arrests. However, Kwok denied media reports that rural leader Leung Fuk-yuen was among those arrested. Nor was Leung asked to help with police inquiries, Kwok said.
Leung said he was taking legal advice over the reports.
Meanwhile, Yuen Long police are investigating an unrelated complaint from Leung Che-cheung, who is running in New Territories West in the Legislative Council elections next month. Leung, a member of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, thought there could be indirect links to the elections.
The candidates running for the New Territories West constituency include Kwok Ka-ki, Chan Han-pan, Tam Yiu-chung, Alice Mak Mei-kuen, Mak Ip-sing, Michael Tien Puk-sun, Leung Yiu-chung, Lee Wing-tat, Josephine Chan Shu-ying, Albert Chan Wai-yip, Lee Cheuk-yan, Tsang Kin-shing, Chan Yut-wah and Junius Ho Kwan-yiu.