Triads warned against revenge

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 August, 2009, 12:00am

Police have warned the criminals that control the underbelly of Tsim Sha Tsui against retaliation for the chopping murder of gangster Lee Tai-lung.

Officers described the scene as tense yesterday as they stepped up patrols of vice establishments and other entertainment spots following the still unsolved murder of the 41-year-old Sun Yee On triad kingpin. The feared enforcer was run over and chopped to death after he stepped out of his Mercedes at the Kowloon Shangri-La at 4am on Tuesday.

The police crackdown follows rumours in the Tsim Sha Tsui entertainment industry that high-ranking Sun Yee On members held a dinner on Wednesday night.

'We fear that there will be many gang fights with triad members struggling for power in the territory left by Lee. We have to stay on high alert,' an officer said.

Tsim Sha Tsui East, traditionally a Sun Yee On stronghold, is regarded as lucrative because of its nightclubs, saunas and hostess bars.

A clear picture of who was responsible for the carefully executed hit has yet to emerge. However, officers are investigating whether the murder was linked to a long-running feud with the rival Wo Shing Wo over the Tsim Sha Tsui area's lucrative illegal soccer betting, prostitution and drug markets. The hit also involved a common Wo Shing Wo trademark of running the intended victim over with a car before chopping him to death.

The murder comes less than two weeks after a 39-year-old Wo Shing Wo member was hacked to death in Yau Ma Tei Wholesale Fruit Market. But one officer said links were weak.

The dispute between Lee, known as the 'Baron of Tsim Sha Tsui East', and the Wo Shing Wo first surfaced publicly when he visited the district's police station in August 2006 with 64 followers as he reported as part of bail conditions for an assault charge. The charge stemmed from a 50-person fight involving Sun Yee On and Wo Shing Wo triad members in a pub in Tsim Sha Tsui in July 2006. Wo Shing Wo had been trying to muscle into territory controlled by other gangs, including the Sun Yee On, police officers say.

One officer dismissed rumours that Lee was a 'yesterday's man'.

'To say he was not a big player within the society would be incorrect,' the officer, with experience fighting the Sun Yee On in the entertainment district, said.