Police seize cash, cars and apartments worth $45m Police have smashed a triad-linked prostitution racket which allegedly controlled hundreds of local and mainland women and underage girls in Yau Ma Tei and Mongkok. Officers arrested 432 people - a record number for a police operation in Hong Kong. The syndicate, reportedly run by 14K triad members, pocketed more than $10 million a month at 14 establishments, including nightclubs, karaoke bars and short-stay hotels. Investigators seized $45 million worth of assets linked to the vice activities, including $5 million in cash, 11 flats, luxury cars and private parking spaces. The crackdown came after eight undercover police agents infiltrated the syndicate last August, collecting evidence and identifying core members. During the operation, codenamed Flame Wood and starting at 11pm on Wednesday, more than 750 officers raided 32 locations, including the syndicate's 14 vice dens in Yau Ma Tei and Mongkok. The alleged mastermind was arrested when officers raided the syndicate command centre in a commercial unit in Mongkok. 'A spy camera was fixed outside the unit to avoid police raids. Inside there was a high-technology computer surveillance system that could link to its 14 vice establishments and monitor business through the internet,' a police source said. The source said the mastermind of the operation was arrested with his wife, mother and younger brother. Nine other core members were also picked up. All are Hong Kong residents. The head of the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau, Chief Superintendent Fung Kin-man, said they had struck a heavy blow against triad-linked prostitution. He said in its early stages, the syndicate had operated in cyber cafes, using underage girls to provide sex services for customers. 'They then operated nightclubs, karaoke bars and short-stay hotels in the Kowloon West region. Our investigations revealed that prostitution services by local sex workers, two-way-permit holders, new immigrants and underage girls were provided,' Mr Fung said. However, none of the 218 suspected prostitutes arrested were mainlanders or underaged. Police said this was probably because they had gone to ground after another vice crackdown on Tuesday. All the suspects were being held for questioning. Police said the operation was continuing last night.