33 held in anti-triad extortion operation
By STEVE BALL
POLICE have arrested 33 people - including a 14-year-old boy - in a series of raids on triad groups involved in extortion rackets on construction sites.
The Organised Crime and Triad Bureau (OCTB) yesterday revealed 105 charges were likely to be laid against members from five triads: Wo Hop To, Wo Shing Wo, Wo On Lok, 14K and Sun Yee On.
Four men were alleged to be senior triad office bearers.
OCTB Superintendent Bob Youill said the arrests followed a two-month phase of Operation Saxhorn; a long-running police investigation targeting triad elements in the building profession.
He said triads seemed to be abandoning a local approach and were moving to a territory-wide operation.
Mr Youill said police received a good response from firms at the centre of a number of blackmail attempts.
''We could not have gone ahead without their co-operation,'' he said.
In some cases, undercover police posed as security guards on the sites in a bid to secure evidence of triad activity.
Hong Kong Construction Association secretary general Patrick Chan Wing-tung said firms had been warned against paying triads.
''Everybody knows it is not right to give money to them,'' he said.