Sun Yee On heads list of 57 triads

THE Sun Yee On is considered to be by far ''the most prominent'' gang among the 57 triad societies on the official police list.

In their first official detailed account of the existence of triads and their involvement in crime, the police ranking of most active gangs put the Sun Yee On, part of the Chiu Chow group, ahead of the Wo groups and the 14K triad.

The 14K which has 20 sub-groups, including the 14K Baai Lo, 14K Kim and others, was found to be the largest.

Other major gangs include the Wo group with 10 sub-groups, six Chiu Chow groups and four gangs under the Luen umbrella.

The police paper presented to legislators yesterday revealed that 10,842 crime cases between 1991 and the end of last year were triad-related. This equated to 301 cases per month or 10 a day.

Crimes either known or suspected to have been carried out by triads represented 4.2 per cent of the total number of crimes recorded in this period.

Of these, the most frequently committed offences were wounding and serious assault, blackmail and intimidation.

The triads were linked to 3,870 cases of being members of an unlawful society, 1,813 of blackmail and intimidation and 1,869 of wounding and serious assault.

Last year, a total of 3,487 cases were known or suspected to be triad related, compared with 4,015 in 1992.

The paper said triad societies perpetrated extortion in places such as wholesale fish and vegetable markets, public light bus terminuses, mahjong parlours, construction sites, and film and decoration industries.

It did not disclose police estimates of the total population of the triad gangs.

''Triad societies are secret fraternities and, as such, some particulars are difficult to ascertain with certainty,'' it said.

''This is especially so when it comes to estimating either the number of triads in Hong Kong, or the total number in any given triad society.'' But a police triad expert told a District Court trial in January that the Sun Yee On alone was estimated to have a membership of up to 56,000.

The police warned there was an emerging trend among triads to veer away from illegal activities and use their money and influence in legitimate enterprises.

Many leading triad members were now part of Hong Kong's social scene.

''They have attained an air of respectability and some are consciously seeking a high social profile through regular contact with persons of importance in the community,'' the paper said.

It said a growing number of women were being admitted to triad societies, though men were still predominant.

There was also an evolution of more sophisticated triad members involved in white-collar crime.

Police said these were second-generation triads, who had received the best education with money generated through illegal means.

Triad societies were extending their influence to the developing cities of southern China, the paper warned.

The police said it was imperative that the Organised and Serious Crimes Bill, which has been under consideration by the Legislative Council since July 1992, be enacted as soon as possible.

The paper said the bill could provide additional powers of investigation to counter organised crime including triads, as well as the authority to seize assets obtained through criminal activities.

It also hinted the Judiciary should impose heavier penalties on triad-related offences.

''It is important that the Judiciary should fully recognise the insidious nature of triad offences so that the penalties meted out are commensurate with the gravity,'' it said.

The police listed the known triad societies at the end of 1993 as: 14K - 20 factions: 14K Baai Lo, 14K Hau, 14K Kim, 14K Kin, 14K Lai, 14K Lun, 14K Mui, 14K Ngai, 14K Sai Kong, 14K Sai Shing Tong, 14K Sat, 14K Shing, 14K Shun, 14K Tai Huen, 14K Tak, 14K Tung, 14K Yan, 14K Yee, 14K Yee Shing Tong, 14K Yung.

Wo - 12: Wo Hop To, Wo Kwan Lok, Wo Kwan Ying, Wo Lee Kwan, Wo Lee Wo, Wo On Lok, Wo Shing Tong, Wo Shing Wo, Wo Shing Yee, Wo Yee Tong, Wo Yung Yee, Wo Hung Shing.

Chiu Chow - 6: Chiu Kwong Sh'e, Fuk Yee Hing, King Yee, Sun Yee On, Tai Ho Choi, Yee Kwan.

Luen - 5: Luen Fei Ying, Luen Hung Ying, Luen Shun Tong, Luen To Ying, Luen Ying Sh'e.

Tung - 4: Luen Lok Tong, Luen Kung Lok, Tung Kwan Ying, Tung San Wo.

Tung (East) - 3: Tung Luen Sh'e, Tung On, Tung On Wo.

Kwong - 2: Kwong Hung, Kwong Luen Shing.

Ching - 2: Ching Nin Sh'e, Ching Wah Sh'e.

Others: Chuen Yat Chi, Yuet Tong, Chuk Luen Bong.