Transnational Organized Crime Volume: 1 Issue: 1 Dated: (Spring 1995) Pages: 47-64
This article discusses the history, structure, and activities of the Triad societies of Hong Kong, which are reputed to be the largest, most dangerous, and best organized crime groups in the world.
Triad societies, which originated between 1842 and 1930 when secret society members from China emigrated to Hong Kong and formed mutual aid organizations, can be categorized into four major groups: the Chiu Chao, the Wo, the 14K, and the Big Four. There is a conflict of opinion on how tightly structured these groups are. Triads appear to be involved in criminal activities ranging from drug trafficking and prostitution to gambling and extortion. The article discusses the Triad subculture and criminality, the institutionalization of Triads in Hong Kong, and the response from police, the courts, and victims. Finally, the author considers the potential implications of the Chinese takeover of Hong Kong, scheduled for 1997, on the activities of Triad societies. 84 notes