SCMP, April 9, 2001: A Hong Kong-based triad group in Sydney is alleged to have recruited non-Asian students in elite schools to launder money and carry drugs. Boys of all races were used to extort money and bully other schoolmates, according to a report in Sydney newspaper the Sun-Herald yesterday. Students from elite schools in Sydney were quoted as saying that their schoolmates had to pay A$2,000 (HK$7,700) to get themselves out of the triad group, identified as Sing Wa, when they found they were getting involved in serious crime. However, police in Hong Kong said they had never heard of a triad group by that name. The gang was said to be preying on private schools in Sydney's northern suburbs, which contain some of the country's wealthiest areas, with members in school uniform committing crimes after school. 'The boys said they joined the gangs because they thought it would give them protection on the railway [when they travelled to school] and a bit of respect from their schoolmates who would otherwise bully them,' the report said. 'But when the gangs wanted them to bash and rob other students, carry drugs, launder money through their bank accounts or break into homes, some became afraid and bought their way out.' An unidentified 15-year-old student was quoted as saying of the triad group: 'It is military based. They have soldiers and officers. 'A boy who got out had to go and see the big boss in George Street for permission. This Chinese bloke was treated like a god with guards all around him.' Inspector Kim Dowding of Chatswood police in north Sydney said officers were concerned about the gang's activities and were planning to set up a Web site so young people could report crimes anonymously. Glossary launder (v) put money which has been obtained illegally into legal businesses or bank accounts so you can hide it or use it extort (v) to obtain money or favours by intimidation, violence or the misuse of authority protection (n) the act of keeping something or someone safe permission (n) authorisation to do something anonymously (adv) under circumstances by which someone's name is unknown or withheld Discussion points Are drugs a problem in schools in Hong Kong? Do you think peer group pressure is a problem when it comes to drugs?