From running guns to white-collar crimes in cyberspace and illegal seafood, the Triads, the mafia of China, are potent figures in the world of organized crime. This study presents an investigation into the phenomenon of the Chinese Triad, its rituals and mythological lore and its meanings and functions. Using a variety. Many translated example sentences containing "Chinese triads" – German-English dictionary and search engine for German translations.
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The triads traditionally recruited young men from low income areas in Chinese-dominated countries. They later resorted to taking in poor immigrants and refugees, promising them huge payouts.
Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories.
She joined Rappler in after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines. Powerful, dangerous, what are Chinese triads?
That has historically been the case in Macau and will always be the case. MGM Mirage responded that it would sell its 50 percent stake in an Atlantic City casino-resorts so it could hold on to its Macau casino-hotel.
Chinese mafia Triad members take many forms. In addition to being gangsters, are also respected judges, civil servants and politicians.
Triad members are friendly with Communist elite but have also helped smuggle pre-democracy activists out of the country. Many gangster members call themselves Triad members even though they are not really members of Triads.
The Triads are tribal-like organizations that follow a strict Confucian code of ethics in which elders are respected. Romanticized in Asian films, the Triads have secret signs, exotic code names, and secret tattoos.
Symbols are very important. A whole range of messages can be conveyed through glances and the way a cigarette is offered.
The mystique that surrounds the Triads is arguably intriguing than that of the Italian Mafia. New Triad members are initiated with elaborate rituals that can last six days and involves a highly symbolic ceremony.
New candidates often begin the ritual barefoot, and wearing special clothes and perform things like salutations, special handshakes, ritual dances and Taoist and Buddhist prayers.
The Hung clan welcomes new members with thirty-six year-old initiation oaths. One of them goes, "I shall not disclose the secrets of the Hung Family, not even to my parents, brothers or wife.
I shall never disclose the secrets for money. I shall die by a swarm of swords if I do so. One Triad ritual ends when the new recruit pledges his allegiance by shedding a few drops of blood into a cup of wine.
In recent years they have been moving more into credit card fraud, minibus concessions, call-girl rings, and computer software and CD pirating.
Sometimes Triad members are involved in extorting money from rich businessmen and contract murders. Most members are small time crooks who sell drugs and pornography on streets or involved in protection rackets or theft rings.
Between and , more than , reported Triad members have been arrested for a variety of crimes. Petty criminal offenses committed by the Triads were on the rise in the mainland and in Hong Kong in the late s.
Officials blame high unemployment rates and a lack of job opportunities for the rise in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Triads have forged a large number of credit cards using information stolen from cardholders in Canada, the United States and Europe by installing recorders on credit card terminals at stores and restaurants.
In some cases store clerks were bribed to get the information. Turf battles over gambling and prostitution between different Triads are fairly common.
The signature Triad instrument of torture, punishment and execution is the kitchen meat cleaver. The bodies of Triad victims are sometimes horribly mutilated.
Severed limbs are sometimes used as a warning. Court record give accounts of numerous victims of chop attacks. In one highly publicized case involving alleged Triad violence, gangsters in business suits entered the office of Leung Tin Wai, the publisher of a feisty magazine called the Surprise Weekly, saying they wanted to talk about doing some printing work.
Moments later Leung's arm and his thumbs were chopped off with a meat cleaver. No one is sure who ordered the attack but it came on the eve of a lengthy article about organized crime printed by the magazine..
Newspaper editor Jimmy Lai, who had a firebomb tossed in his yard by Triad members, told the New York Times: "I think they're very powerfulno doubt.
But if they threaten me, they won't kill me. If they want to kill me, they won't threaten me. In May , there was a gangland-style execution in which three people were riddled with bullets while they sat in a car in the middle of the day in downtown Macau.
A total of 14 people were killed in Macau in the first half of , compared to 21 in Only one of the cases was solved. Police believe that the majority of the murders were related to the Triad war and that after the slaying the murderers slipped across the border into the neighboring mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai.
Many of the slayings were execution-style hits reminiscent of gangland killing in Chicago in the s. In January, , 15 people were killed in fire believed to be have been started by members of Sun Yee On, Hong Kong's largest Triad, who in a turf battle with Who Sing Who, the second largest.
The turf warfare in Macau is believed to have been the result of declining revenues and battles over a pieces of the action in the gambling industry.
Seventeen men and one woman were arrested in connection with the attack. Many leaders in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan are believed to have met with representatives of the Triads and received some help from them.
Referring to the Triads, Deng Xiaoping once said, "there are many good guys among them. Triad leaders met with Communist officials before the singing of the Hong Kong handover agreement.
In return for assisting the Communist in a smooth transition, the Triad leaders were told that Communism would turn a blind eye to its illegal activities.
Beijing especially wanted the support of the powerful Sun Yee On gang traditionally had ties with the nationalist in Taiwan.
The Triads also played a crucial rile in Operation Yellowbird, a network that help smuggle pro-democracy dissidents out of China after Tiananmen Square in No is sure whether the Triads were involved in the operation simply for the money or out of concern for the pro-democracy movement.
Short and known as a flashy dresser, he strutted in dark striped suits, cream-colored shoes and a diamond ring. He liked to spend all night in casinos and often didn't get out of bed until late in afternoon..
He turned 43 in , when he was at the peak of his power, and spent several thousand dollars to get his teeth capped. He made most of his money in the late s by controlling the VIP suites for high-rollers at Macau's casinos like the one at the Hotel Lisboa.
In he was barred from Macau's casinos for "breaking every rule you can think of," including throwing chairs and ashtrays when he lost bets.
An estimated 10, gangsters regarded Broken Tooth as their boss and referred to him as "Big Brother. With the corruption within the Hong Kong police force curtailed by the Independent Commission Against Corruption of Hong Kong , many of the city's triads turned to the UK where a narcotics task force was non-existent and their existence was largely unknown by British officials.
During the s, the power of the Chinese underworld was constantly shifting from one Triad to another in an attempt to control Britain's drug trafficking trade.
Triads soon began expanding into other criminal activities including VAT fraud using innocent loanshark and extortion victims to provide a front business.
The Triads also began to turn away from heroin; instead turning to less serious drugs such as cannabis and designer drugs which were smuggled by Triad couriers from The Netherlands and Germany as they competed with rival European competitors.
These newer Triads were far more organized and professional and, as many of its members were respected and prominent Hong Kong businessmen, they were easily able to use their legitimate businesses as fronts for tax evasion and money laundering.
The Wo On Lok soon established themselves in Wales, London and Southampton in England and, maintaining links to similarly exiled groups in Ireland , France , the Netherlands and Germany, they engaged in smaller crime such as illegal gambling, counterfeiting, and selling illegally copied videos, although they also continue extortion activities on Chinese residents.
British authorities finally began to crack down on Triad activity during the early s and, although law enforcement had been battling the Triads for some time, their first insight on the Triad structure and influence in British society came during the trial of George Cheung Wai-hen , an assassin for the Wo On Lok turned government informant, who testified at the Old Bailey against six Chinese immigrants who were charged with possession of a firearm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to rival Triad member Lam Ying-kit after a failed attempt on his life on September 7, According to testimony by Cheung, he also described his induction ceremony into the Wo On Lok which followed traditional Triad initiation taking place at around 2 am in the basement of the Princess Garden Chinese Restaurant in Greyhound Road, Fulham.
As a result of his testimony, Cheung was given a reduced sentence of five years imprisonment. The rites would take place at an altar with incense smoke and the sacrifice to the gods of a domestic animal, such as a chicken or a goat.
If I, as a future member of this association, break this oath, the swords will descend and kill me. Signifying the name of the association, three fingers of the left hand would be raised to the heavens as a secret and binding gesture.
There is a police task force dedicated to investigating triads in Hong Kong — they are the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau.
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I would describe it as a mash-up of the Korean movie, Oldboy and a Triad bar in Hong Kong a friend once treated me too.
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