A police undercover agent was almost exposed while being threatened by a triad leader, a court was told yesterday before 10 of 19 defendants were convicted of acting or claiming to be members of the notorious Sun Yee On gang.
They were arrested after paying tribute to faction leader Lee Tai-lung, also known as the Baron of Tsim Sha Tsui East, at a religious ritual in Kowloon City on August 27, 2010. Lee was chopped to death outside the Shangri-La hotel in East Tsim Sha Tsui by rival triad Wo Shing Wo in 2009.
The court heard that police constable 'Ah Wang' was implanted into the Sun Yee On in November 2008 and worked as a waiter in various pubs and a hot pot restaurant during his two years undercover.
One day in November 2010 he was tested by faction leader Law Ka-fai. Law, 37, was playing poker in a Tsim Sha Tsui pub with two friends when 'Ah Wang' entered to clean up. Law started chatting with him, then suddenly turned fierce and banged the table.
'I have long suspected you of working undercover,' he said.
'If one day we find you are an undercover agent, our brothers will chop you to death.'
Law then asked 'Ah Wang' to tell him the phone number of people to whom he had sold drugs, to prove he had done the deals.
Stunned, 'Ah Wang' told Law the numbers were not in the phone he was using. Law said he was strange and told him he was sacking him.
The next day, Law pacified 'Ah Wang', saying he had been very drunk the night before and asked him to stay on.
By this time 'Ah Wang' had already collected useful evidence against the members.
Around midnight on the morning of the ritual, 'Ah Wang' brought bottles of water to a room where senior Sun Yee On member Lam Sai-hop, 56, was addressing members.
'Tomorrow we are paying tribute to the dead 'good brothers' of Old Sun [nickname of Sun Yee On] in Kowloon City. How many of you are coming?' he asked.
The next day, Lam saw 'Ah Wang' arranging the ritual in a shelter in a playground in Kowloon City. The shelter was set up next to a stage to celebrate the Hungry Ghost Festival.
Lam rounded up more than 50 fellow members and repeatedly warned them to be careful not to alert police.
A police triad expert earlier testified that although the altar had no distinctive triad characteristic, the disciplined way the gang acted during the ritual gave the game away.
'Ah Wang' recorded all the conversations and activities in a logbook, which was later used as evidence.
Magistrate Johnny Chan Jong-herng believed the undercover agent was an honest and reliable witness, and convicted Law and Lam of two counts of acting as and claiming to be triad members. Eight more were convicted of acting as a triad member.
Among those acquitted was Yau Po-hing, 37, widow of Lee, who brought two of her young children to the ritual. Chan said he could not rule out the possibility that Yau was paying tribute as Lee's widow, rather than a triad member.
Sentencing was adjourned until Wednesday.