Hundreds arrested in triad sweep

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 July, 2011, 12:00am


Police have arrested hundreds of people in a crackdown on triads and organised crime over the past three weeks as part of a massive clean up ahead of next month's world university games in Shenzhen.

Vice dens, illicit gambling venues and illegal fuel-filling stations were raided as part of 'Operation Thunderbolt' lead by the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau.

Scores of officers seized drugs, contraband cigarettes, pornographic discs, and confiscated betting records worth HK$60 million at addresses across the city.

The joint operation carried out by Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong law enforcers kicked off at the beginning of this month and ends on July 31. It is understood that the operation, usually held before National Day each year, is being carried out early due to the Universiade 2011.

The multisports event for university students, which is held every two years, is scheduled to be held in Shenzhen from August 12 to 23.

Police in the three jurisdictions were attempting to 'clean up' in a bid to ensure there was no trouble during the games, an officer said.

'The operation targets triad gangs, their income sources and organised crimes,' the officer said. 'We believe the joint sweep can result in active triad members remaining low-profile for a while.'

Last week, a mainland newspaper reported that Shenzhen police expelled more than 80,000 migrants deemed a security risk and took other tough measures ahead of the games. The people were picked up during police raids on more than 330,000 rented flats, 32,000 internet cafes, 60,000 guesthouses, 20,000 entertainment venues and 40,000 other venues in Shenzhen since January.

Since the beginning of this month, Hong Kong police arrested several hundred people during the operation, a senior police officer said. The arrests included triad members, drug traffickers, illegal bookmakers, smugglers and sex workers, the officer said.

The New Territories North regional crime unit has arrested nearly 100 people as officers smashed two factions of the Sun Yee On and a loan-sharking syndicate, controlled by the Wo Shing Wo. Police also shut five illegal fuel-filling stations and a gambling den.

In the New Territories South region, officers arrested 70 others as police closed down a pornographic-disc manufacturing plant and two gambling dens. Police said the plant run by the Wo Shing Wo and 14K triad gangs could produce more than 10,000 pornographic discs with a turnover of HK$10 million a month.

On July 6, the triad bureau smashed an illegal bookmaking syndicate with the arrest of eight people and seizure of betting records with a face value of HK$60 million.