91 arrested in New Territories crackdown on triad businesses

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 April, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 April, 2005, 12:00am

Police raids target 72 locations over three days

Police have carried out a series of raids across the New Territories targeting triad businesses, with 91 people arrested.

More than $425,000 worth of illicit goods were seized in Tuen Mun and Yuen Long, dealing a blow that police hope will curtail the gangs' activities.

Police declined to reveal which triad organisations were targeted in the raids, which took place from Thursday to Saturday.

But it is understood the 14K and Wo Shing Wo triad societies are two of the most active in the area. The 14K triad was the subject of recent raids in West Kowloon.

Detectives from New Territories North and officers from Tuen Mun and Yuen Long launched Operation Oilpainter on Thursday and raided 72 locations over three days. Customs and immigration officers also took part in the operation.

Entertainment establishments, illegal fuel stations, smuggled cigarette outlets, gambling dens, brothels and places selling pirated computer games and pornographic discs were all targeted.

The seizures included 38,600 smuggled cigarettes, 7,000 litres of illicit fuel and 14,900 discs.

Small quantities of suspected dangerous drugs, cash and gambling equipment were also found.

'Police arrested 47 men and 44 women aged from 16 to 58 for conspiracy to traffic in dangerous drugs, operating a gambling establishment, illegal gambling, breach of conditions of stay, soliciting for immoral purposes, criminal damage, assault and offences under the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance and Copyright Ordinance,' a police spokeswoman said.

Officers conducting the raids did not report any retaliation from the suspects or their associates, she said.

The 14K triad society and its operations have come under the spotlight in the past few weeks following a high-profile dispute in Mongkok in which alleged gang members challenged the authority of police.

In the incident at the 348 Disco in Nathan Road on March 26, officers conducting a routine check were mocked. Police have since mounted consecutive crackdowns on businesses believed to be operated by the gang in West Kowloon.

Two top triad leaders apparently apologised to police at the end of last month and promised to discipline their followers when they were taken in to help with investigations.

The latest raids appear to confirm a claim by a police source that police would continue raids on triad-controlled businesses across the city until their illegal activities had been suppressed.