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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Triads, Tongs, and the Chinese Mafia

A friend of my wife, from Hong Kong, mentioned that the Hong Kong Mafia will often determine who the winner of a beauty contest is in some type of exchange. I was surprised to hear that triads were still very powerful outside of the movies.

So I did a bit of Googling...
Basically after 1949 they got eliminated in China after the communist took over, so many moved to Hong Kong. Some Triads may have up to 30,000 members today in HK, estimate 80,000 total in HK. Seems to be several societies and do all sorts of crimes. Software counterfeiting, drugs, and smuggling people seem to be major sources of funds. From what I read they have some influence in the movie industry, counterfeiting, as well as relations in Chinatowns in the US. Tongs and Triads both seem to have a relationship to Chinese street gangs in the US. Tongs were formed in the US by immigrants, where Triads have a longer history going back to resistance against the Manchus.

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