Tough anti-organised crime laws to tackle Macau's powerful triad gangs cleared their first legislative hurdle yesterday. But a democratic lawmaker immediately branded them toothless and cast doubt on their enforceability because of triad infiltration of the police. Legislators voted unanimously to accept in principle the Lei da Criminalidade Organizada (Organised Crime Law) which targets triad societies and their members. Legislative Assembly spokesman Manuel Pires said the first draft of the law, would be sent to the assembly's security panel after legislator Jorge Neto Valente proposed 18 'not substantial' amendments for discussion. He added that it had been decided to extend the Legislative Assembly's term, which normally runs until June 15, to the end of July to help the passing of the law, describing the move as 'normal'. But New Macau Association legislator Antonio Ng Kuok-cheong claimed triad penetration of the police could mean the new powers would not be enforced. He said: 'I think the old laws were quite good, but the police did not enforce them. The new laws are better, but that is not the point. 'I doubt in the present circumstances, with the amount of triads influencing police, whether they have the ability to make the laws work'. Mr Ng acknowledged that the Government and police chiefs were taking steps to solve the problem, but estimated it would take two years to clean up the force. The laws aim to strengthen existing provisions in Macau's criminal code, which penalise 'criminal associations who have permanent intention to carry out crime'. Based on Hong Kong's Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance and the United States' powerful Racketeer-influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act, the new laws propose to give investigators new asset-seizure powers and intelligence-gathering capabilities. They will also increase the existing penalty for triad membership from two to eight years to eight to 15 years, plus one-third more for civil servants.