Police warn as six held after triad gangs clash
Police have sought to deliver a stern warning to troublemakers after a clash between two triad gangs over a disputed debt left five suspected gang members injured.
Officers raided a number of entertainment venues at the weekend including nightclubs, pubs and brothels allegedly controlled by the gangs - the Wo Shing Wo and 14K - in Mong Kok, Yau Ma Tei and Tsim Sha Tsui.
'The raids delivered a strong message that police will show zero tolerance towards triads, and enforcement action will be taken if any trouble erupts,' a veteran officer said.
Six people, including five who were injured in the fight, were arrested. The Wo Shing Wo and 14K are two of the three most powerful triad societies in Hong Kong, the other being the Sun Yee On.
The fight, involving more than 20 gangsters, broke out in a Mong Kok restaurant on April 3 when the Wo Shing Wo settled a HK$70,000 debt in HK$10 banknotes and was accused of ridiculing its 14K rivals.
About 10 members of the two triads negotiated repayment of the debt in the private room of the Chung Nan Hoi Harbour Restaurant in Dynasty Plaza, Mong Kok Road, in a meeting that began around 10.30pm.
An investigation is under way into whether the money involved gambling, drugs or other illegal deals. Police said the Wo Shing Wo was representing the person in debt to the 14K. The amount was negotiated down to HK$70,000 and the debtor agreed to pay. But after the money was paid in HK$10 notes, an argument broke out.
Fighting began when another 10 triad members turned up at the restaurant. Knives were used in the brawl, but no weapons were left behind, police said.
A 46-year-old man suffering chop wounds to his head and neck was found at the scene. The others had fled before police arrived. Another four men were arrested after they sought treatment at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. None suffered life-threatening injuries, police said.
A sixth man was arrested during the weekend raids. The arrested men were released on bail pending further investigation. No charges were laid.
The number of triad-related crimes fell to 149 in January from 164 a year ago, according to police figures. There were 2,037 reports of triad-related crime last year, a 13.4 per cent drop from 2,351 cases in 2009.
The Wo Shing Wo is active in Tsuen Wan, Sheung Shui and Kowloon West, while 14K is active in Yuen Long and Kowloon West.
Their illegal activities include vice, bookmaking, trafficking in illegal drugs, controlling entertainment venues and the sale of illicit goods, according to police. The Sun Yee On is active in Tsim Sha Tsui East and Tuen Mun.
The Wo Shing Wo, 14K and Sun Yee On are the three main triads
In 2009, there were 2,351 reports of triad-related crime. Last year, the figure fell to: 2,037