Triad linked to threat to kill top politicians

A Hong Kong triad has threatened to kill the two most senior politicians in the Western Cape if they do not end a series of investigations that have crippled the organisation's operations.

This weekend the Western Cape province's Premier Ebrahim Rasool and his minister of Safety and Security, Leonard Ramatlakane, said they received letters warning them they would be 'eliminated' unless police investigations into organised crime ceased immediately.

'These threats are taken seriously,' Mr Rasool told the Cape Times newspaper. 'The police and National Intelligence Agency are investigating.

'The original threat came in the form of a meeting held between the triads and a South African gang, the Junior Mafias.

'It was reported to us that they would eliminate me and minister Ramatlakane if we were to continue our campaign.'

A sweeping anti-organised crime campaign in the past few months has targeted drug syndicates and abalone smuggling rings.

Two weeks ago police arrested a man they said was the crime boss in the region, a South African drug lord named Quinton Marinus who had built his empire using triad connections.

Marinus was a leading importer of narcotics from Hong Kong and paid his triad suppliers with stolen abalone.

The crackdown has severely reduced the volume of drugs on the streets of Cape Town and is understood to have choked the supply of illegal abalone into Hong Kong.

Concerned gangsters met recently to plot a way to end the crackdown.

'We busted the major syndicate [run by Marinus] and that means the assassination order out on us was activated,' Mr Rasool said.

However, Mr Rasool says police have been ordered to continue with the operation against organised crime.