'Severe blow to triads’ as 300 suspects are arrested in gang-busting operation

Month-long operation focused on 150 venues mainly in Kowloon West

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 April, 2014, 6:04pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 April, 2014, 10:25am

More than 300 people have been arrested and millions of dollars worth of illicit goods, ranging from illegal drugs to pornographic CDs, have been seized in a month-long city-wide operation against triads, police revealed today.

The arrests included 56 suspected triad members, one of whom is a 15-year-old Form 3 student who claimed to be a triad member, according to Chief Superintendent Eddie Ma Chi-kin, head of the force’s elite Organised Crime and Triad Bureau.

“Our operation has dealt a severe blow to triads, reduce their influence and suppress their sources of income,” he said.

During the operation that ended at midnight yesterday, officers were sent to 150 entertainment venues mainly in Kowloon West region.

A total of 317 people – 251 men and 66 women – had been arrested. They were arrested for various offences, including claiming to be triad members, drug trafficking, managing vice establishments, wounding and illegal gambling.

Police said some of them had been charged and the others were released on bail.

Officers confiscated HK$7.2 million worth of illicit goods such as illegal drugs and pornographic discs in the operation.

An assortment of weapons including meat cleavers, machetes and iron pipes were seized.

The operation began on March 21, one day after the attack on the director and the news controller of a planned new local newspaper in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Five suspected triad members were arrested over the attack on Lei Iun-han, 46, director of the Hong Kong Morning News Media Group, and Lam Kin-ming, 54, the paper’s news controller last month.On February 26, former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau Chun-to was critically injured in a chopping incident in Sai Wan On. Two men have been charged in connection with the incident and their hearing is ongoing.

Ma did not comment on whether the massive operation was sparked by the two attacks. He said the crackdown codenamed “Rocksmarter” was just part of “regular and prolonged police operations against triads”.

He said the number of triad-related crimes reported in the city was low and accounted for less than 3 per cent of the overall crimes.

Police figures show there were 2,035 reports of triad-related crimes last year, a 13 per cent drop from 2,340 in 2012. There were 2,207 cases in 2011 and 2,037 in 2010.