China went to triads: report

A CONFIDENTIAL Royal Hongkong Police Force document claims covert links between mainland public security forces and Hongkong's ruling triads were initiated by China for financial gain.

The police assessment was compiled more than a year ago by the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau (OCTB) and was based on extensive investigations into the Sun Yee On, Hongkong's dominant secret society.

The findings of the report are supported by comments made by China's Minister of Public Security, Mr Tao Siju, who has stated his support for ''patriotic'' triads on at least two occasions.

Meanwhile, a poll carried out for the Sunday Morning Post has found the majority of people questioned believed Mr Tao's recent comments on China ''uniting'' with patriotic triads have made the task of the Hongkong police more difficult.

Of the 429 people surveyed by the Hongkong Polling and Business Research, 56 per cent said the police's job would be more difficult, while 28 per cent said it would not.

Extracts from the OCTB report, published in Eastweek magazine, have further fuelled speculation that senior Chinese officials have met and kept in touch with the ''inner council'' of the Sun Yee On and could lead to post-1997 collaboration.


The OCTB assessment claims ''that negotiations between the Sun Yee On triad society and the mainland Chinese Government have taken place and the establishment of the new Inner Council, who have no known political loyalties with the KMT, may come to an agreement with China, purely for financial benefits''.

''It is also believed that the Chinese authorities took the initiative and approached the Sun Yee On triad society: not as it has been suggested that local Hongkong triads have gone to Beijing to inquire about their future.

''The lead-up to 1997 and after will see an increase in triad influence and their involvement in organised corruption.'' The Sun Yee On's growing influence across the border has also allowed the gang to consolidate its illegal activities, especially smuggling-related crimes.

The matter was raised by the Commissioner of Police, Mr Li Kwan-ha, on a recent four-day trip to Beijing when he met the head of China's Interpol, Mr Zhu Entao, who played down the issue and said the mainland would continue to co-operate with Hongkong incracking down on triads.