Police officers stand guard during China's National Day in Hong Kong, China, 01 October 2022. EFE-EPA FILE/MIGUEL CANDELA

Hong Kong police arrest 225 people in triad crackdown

Hong Kong, Apr 30 (EFE).- The Hong Kong police’s Organized Crime and Triad Bureau arrested 225 people in a crackdown on organized crime.

A police operation, code-named Flowing Shade, was carried out between Apr. 27 and 29 to combat crime and the activities of Chinese mafias, known as triads, in all districts of Hong Kong, the police said on Facebook on Sunday.

A small number of weapons, drugs and a large amount of gambling paraphernalia were seized during the operation, the police added.

The Bureau, West Kowloon Region and the Immigration Department also conducted a joint operation dubbed Sahara in the Tsim Sha Tsui area on Saturday night to crack down on black spots, underworld activities and illegal workers, the police said.

A total of 225 people have been arrested during the operations, including 141 men and 84 women between the ages of 15 and 87, of whom 71 are foreign nationals.

The detainees are suspected of committing assault resulting in injuries, illegal possession of weapons, selling alcohol without a license, operating gambling establishments, trafficking dangerous drugs, money laundering, illegal fighting in public places, and illegal assembly, among other crimes.

Some of the suspects have already been prosecuted.

The police said that cracking down on triad activities was one its top priorities and that it would continue to strengthen intelligence collection and conduct operations to combat violent crimes and the activities and sources of income of triads.

In February, the Hong Kong police arrested 234 people in a massive triad operation, in which they also seized drugs, weapons, cars and smuggled goods.

The operation, code-named Levington, led to the arrest of 137 men and 97 women who remain in police custody.

The triads originated between 1842 and 1930 when secret society members from China emigrated to Hong Kong and formed mutual aid organizations.

There is a conflict of opinions about how tightly structured these groups are. Some experts say they are involved in criminal activities ranging from drug trafficking and prostitution to gambling and extortion.

The Hong Kong police handled 2,554 cases of triad-related crimes last year, an increase of 35.3 percent over 2021. EFE