Police smash triad gangs

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2012, 4:53pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2012, 4:53pm

Police believe they have smashed two triad gangs after an eight-month undercover operation that ended in a series of raids on Sunday and Monday with the arrest of 29 people.

Six Pakistanis among the arrested men were suspected members of the Wo Shing Wo triad, active in Yuen Long, according to police.

“Investigations showed that members of this gang were hired attackers,” a police officer said.

“We suspect they were involved in a number of wounding cases and illegal gatherings in the district. We are still looking for other members of the gang.”

The other suspects were alleged members of the 14K triad society, who were active in Yuen Long and Tin Shui Wai.

The New Territories North regional crime unit began investigating the two gangs in March, deploying undercover policemen to identify the gangsters and collect evidence.

After the eight-month undercover operation, codenamed Coldwind, more than 120 officers conducted a series of raids in Yuen Long and Tin Shui Wai on Sunday and Monday.

Twenty-nine boys and men, aged 14-65, were picked up when officers raided 27 locations. Some of them are students.

Offensive weapons including folding knives, extendable batons and iron pipes were seized in the operation, along with illegal drugs worth HK$70,000.

Among those arrested were the licensee and shop attendant of a games centre in Yuen Long, where police seized eight slot machines that were involved in illegal gambling.

The investigation learned that games players were awarded points that they could exchange for cash rewards at the games centre, senior superintendent Terry Wong Kin-wah said on Tuesday morning. This was a breach of the gambling ordinance, he said.

Police seized more than HK$20,000 in coins used for gambling at the games centre.

“It is the first time in the past three years police have found an operator of a games centre engaged in illegal gambling activity by exchanging games points for a money reward,” he said.

Police said the 29 people arrested were suspected of committing various offences such as drug trafficking, operating a gambling establishment, wounding and triad-related offences.

On Tuesday morning, most of the suspects were still being held for questioning and no one had been charged.

Wong believes police have smashed the two triad gangs and cut off their sources of illegal income.

“Police have attached importance to combating triads and related crimes,” and will continue their efforts to fight such crimes, he said.