MACAU police have been placed on full alert for a possible clash between local triads and a new gang from the mainland. Members of both gangs have been involved in fights in recent weeks, reportedly over the control of prostitutes brought in from China. Sources say the smaller mainland gang has called for reinforcements from Zhuhai. Police believe the outnumbered mainlanders might smuggle in firearms. The local triads at first allowed mainland prostitutes to operate in small apartment because they were also paying protection money. But recently there has been a surge of mainland women entering the enclave who are controlled and protected by mainland gangs living in Macau. These gangsters ignored the local triads and stopped paying protection money. They also started sending dozens of mainland prostitutes into the casinos. This angered the local triads, particularly the Wo group and the notorious 14K, whose have reigned over casino loansharking for years. Despite a series of talks, there has been no improvement in relationships between the gangs and a number of fights have occurred.