207 arrested in crackdown on Yuen Long-based triads

Drugs, cash and arms seized in raids police say have damaged at least five crime gangs

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 August, 2013, 3:56am

More than 200 people, two of them children, have been arrested in a citywide operation against Yuen Long-based triad activity, police said yesterday.

The announcement came two days after a fourth suspected triad member was arrested on suspicion of assault in connection with a clash between pro-establishment and pan-democratic groups outside a public forum attended by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in Tin Shui Wai last Sunday.

Police said the timing of the announcement was coincidental. There was no evidence suggesting that any of the 207 suspects arrested in the operation, which is ongoing, were involved in the clashes, they also said.

Police raided at least 21 city sites during the operation named Thunderbolt 13, which started on July 23, including three premises used for illegal gambling and three restaurants allegedly selling liquor without licenses.

Officers seized various items worth at least HK$300,000, including about 730 grams of suspected ketamine, six grams of cocaine and 17 grams of methamphetamine - also known as Ice - with a value of HK$107,000.

They also confiscated about HK$70,000 in cash found in mahjong pieces and metal pipes.

One hundred males and 107 females aged between 13 and 71 were arrested on charges including possession of offensive weapons and drugs, soliciting for an immoral purpose, trafficking, assault, blackmail, arson and claiming to be triad members.

Yuen Long-based Chief Inspector So Chun-kwong said the two children detained, who are aged 13 and 16, were suspected of trafficking drugs for a payment of "a few hundred dollars".

"During the summer vacation, criminals often take advantage of youngsters' lack of awareness [of crime] to help them traffic drugs," So said.

So said the arrest of gang members and the cutting off of sources of income through the operation had dealt a blow to at least five criminal syndicates controlled by triad groups in Yuen Long.