Triads thumped in major police operation

Local | Cissy So 24 Aug 2018

Police believe they have dealt a severe blow to triads with 4,283 arrests in the largest joint operation with Guangdong and Macau since 2000.

Operation Thunderbolt 18 saw 1,259 mainlanders and 219 non-Chinese held. The youngest was a 12-year-old for drugs and the oldest was aged 72.

Officers also seized weapons, imitation guns and gambling records nvolving a total of HK$310 million in the operation from May 15 to August 15.

Organized Crime and Triad Bureau chief superintendent Man Tat-shing said the operation - also involving customs and excise, immigration, and labor departments - was the largest since 2000.

The aim was to curb triad and organized crimes, neutralize cross-boundary crimes, and cut off their source of income.

Four undercover operations were carried out while 323 triad and organized crime arrests - including one in charge of a triad and core members of syndicates - were made.

"We believe we have successfully curbed some of the triads and effectively interdicted their major source of income," Man said.

The police said it was the first time in recent years to smash a local money-lending group targeting domestic helpers from the Philippines.

That came after Hong Kong Island Regional Headquarters received a report about a helper forced to surrender her passport as collateral.

Police raided more than 6,300 locations including discos, game arcades, massage parlors, nightclubs and residential units.

Of those arrests, 2,227 were men and 2,056 women. Other offenses included managing vice establishments, breaching conditions of stay, illegal gambling, criminal damage, wounding and possession of arms or ammunition without licenses.

The seized drugs were worth about HK$90 million. They included cannabis, ketamine, cocaine, ice, heroin and midazolam. Also seized were more than 205,800 obscene and pirated DVDs valued at about HK$3.7 million.

Other seizures included weapons and imitation firearms, and about 150,000 contraband cigarettes.

Last year's operation, Thunderbolt 17, had 3,618 arrests.

The increase in the number of arrests did not mean that law and order situation in Hong Kong was deteriorating, Man said, but showed police, especially in Hong Kong, were more focused on curbing triad and organized crime syndicates.

Another factor this year was the World Cup.

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