Wave of Hong Kong triad violence prompts police crackdown
- Officers from the city’s Organised Crime and Triad Bureau on Wednesday arrested eight men and seized three axes, six knives and two cans of petrol
A wave of triad-linked violence in Hong Kong has forced police to crack down on local gangsters and step up intelligence gathering, a senior officer said on Thursday.
Superintendent Chan Kong-ming of the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau revealed the force had carried out a series of operations leading to the arrest on Wednesday of eight men and the seizure of a host of weapons, including three axes, six knives, four baseball bats and two retractable batons. They also found 10 balaclavas and two cans of petrol inside two cars.
The suspects were apprehended at about 9pm after officers intercepted the two vehicles at a car park outside Cheung Sha Wan Wholesale Food Market on Yen Chow Street West in Cheung Sha Wan.
The cars were last year reported stolen in Sha Tin and Tsing Yi and fitted with fake number plates. Another two sets of false plates were found inside the vehicles on Wednesday.
Police arrested the eight Hong Kong men for possession of offensive weapons, taking conveyance without authority, and uttering forged documents.
Chan said officers began investigating after intelligence indicated a large quantity of weapons had been stored at the market in preparation for an attack.
“We believe this operation thwarted another violent case,” he said.
Anti-triad police seize pistol, 700 rounds of ammunition and 18 imitation firearms during raid targeting Hong Kong gangs
The superintendent said there had been a spate of triad-related violence which “had a definite impact on law and order in society”.
Police had enhanced their intelligence gathering and mounted a series of crackdowns, he added.
On Monday and Tuesday, officers from the bureau arrested seven Hongkongers and seized a pistol and more than 700 rounds of ammunition along with a number of imitation firearms during raids on 13 locations.
In the last five days there have also been two knife attacks in Yau Ma Tei and Tseung Kwan O.
On Tuesday a 29-year-old motorist was injured after his car was stopped by two others on Hoi Ting Road in Yau Ma Tei at about 8.25pm. Five minutes later, one of the cars was abandoned and set alight near Yau Ma Tei police station, about 700 metres from the site of the attack.
Police suspected the victim was a triad member and was set upon by four or five knife-wielding men.
Senior inspector Chiu Peng-fai said initial investigations indicated it was a retaliation attack.
Since that incident, officers from the Kowloon West anti-triad squad have arrested 17 suspected triad members and seized weapons including knives and retractable batons in raids on 33 locations.
Chiu said the 17 men, aged between 18 and 33, included those behind the Tuesday plot, but officers were still searching for suspects.
Then on Thursday a 35-year-old man suffered cut wounds to his limbs, back and abdomen when three assailants attacked him at a multi-storey car park by King Lam Estate in Tseung Kwan O at 11pm. A getaway car was later found abandoned and torched in nearby Tsui Lam Road.
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Anti-triad police officers were investigating whether the two knife attacks were connected to infighting between two Sun Yee On crime factions that sparked an arson and another knife attack in the same district in September.
On September 26, a 24-year-old woman was injured on the head and limbs in an attack by two knife-wielding men at Sheung Tak Estate in Tseung Kwan O. Two hours later, more than 40 vehicles were damaged in an arson attack at the King Lam Estate multi-storey car park.
According to official statistics, police handled 1,383 reports of triad-related crimes in the first 10 months of 2018 – down 4 per cent compared with 1,440 in the same period of 2017.