Fertile recruiting ground

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 June, 2006, 12:00am

Triads have been recruiting members of South Asian minorities in the Yau Ma Tei district, increasing the risk of more crime and violence in the troubled area, a district council head said yesterday.

The area had become home to a growing number of minorities in recent years and gangs were taking advantage of their lack of knowledge of the law, Yau Tsim Mong council chairman Henry Chan Man-yu said.

He was commenting after the arrest of four people, two of them Nepalis, for allegedly fighting over triad matters in Temple Street yesterday.

Mr Chan said Nepalis were the gangs' 'ideal members' because many were in the city without their families and did not speak much Chinese.

'In the case of Hong Kong youngsters, their families serve as a monitor for their behaviour,' he said. 'But the Nepalis often have their families back in Nepal and their families don't know what they are doing.'

Fermi Wong Wai-fun, executive director of Unison Hong Kong, which serves ethnic minorities, said widespread unemployment among Hong Kong-born Nepalis made them particularly vulnerable to triad gangs.

Mr Chan said yesterday's fight was a wake-up call to society.

'These minorities cannot see their future in Hong Kong. They are helpless and can create more problems in the already complicated Yau Ma Tei district,' he said. 'If they are left uncared for, they can turn into a huge social problem.' Helen Wu