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Tuesday, February 5th 2013, 10:07am


A triad is a group within the field of organized crime, which has its origins in China. In the press and, mostly as a paraphrase, but also in literature, the triads are sometimes referred to as "Chinese Mafia". They have their offices in Hong Kong, Macau, Formosa and China, but also operates far away of their country of origin, for example, since the 1920s in England and the USA.

The main symbol of the Triads is the dragon. which embodies after chinese understanding wisdom and strength. As a sign of identification triad members use secret symbols and communicate by finger code.


Tuesday, February 5th 2013, 10:12am

Structure and Composition

Triads use numeric codes to distinguish between ranks and positions within the gang; the numbers are inspired by Chinese numerology based on the I Ching. "489" refers to the "Mountain" or "Dragon" Master (or 'Dragon Head'), while 438 is used for the "Deputy Mountain Master", a 432 indicates "Grass Slipper" rank and the Mountain Master's proxy, "Incense Master", who oversees inductions into the Triad, and "Vanguard", who assists the Incense Master. 426 refers to a "military commander", also known as a "Red Pole", overseeing defensive and offensive operations, while 49 denotes the position of "soldier" or rank-and-file member. The "White Paper Fan" 415 provides financial and business advice, and the "Straw Sandal" 432 functions as a liaison between different unit. 25 refers to an undercover law enforcement agent or spy from another triad, and has become popularly used in Hong Kong as a slang for "informant". "Blue Lanterns" are uninitiated members, equivalent to Mafia associates and, as such, do not have a number designation.


Tuesday, February 5th 2013, 10:15am

'Triad': Sun Yee On


Sun Yee On (New Righteousness and Peace Commercial and Industrial Guild)

Dragonhead: Stanley Ho

The Sun Yee On was founded by Heung Chin in 1919. They focused their activities on Hong Kong and Macao and the hinterlands of the two cities. The organization is involved in counterfeiting, gambling, narcotics, smuggling and prostitution. After the natural death of Heung Chin, this triad is lead by his son Heung Ho, who renamed itself more european- like to Stanley Ho.


Tuesday, February 5th 2013, 10:17am

'Triad': Shih-Hai Triad


Shih-Hai (Four Seas Gang)

Dragonhead: Hu-ang

The Shih-Hai triad is based in Formosa. The Four Seas Gang has an estimated membership of over 7,000 in Formosa. Its members have extended their influence to cities in south east asia. The triad is involved in narcotics, prostitution, smuggling and gambling.


Tuesday, February 5th 2013, 10:18am

'Triad': The Green Gang


The Green Gang

Dragonhead: Zhang Xiaolin

The Green Gang is a triad based in Shanghai but active internationally. It is the second largest Triad with around 15,000 members split into thirty subgroups. They are the main rival of the Black Dragons, which is the largest Triad. They are responsible for large-scale drug trafficking around the world, most of it heroin and opium from China or Southeast Asia. This is their primary business in terms of generating income, but they are also involved in illegal gambling, loan sharking, murder, arms trafficking and prostitution.


Tuesday, February 5th 2013, 10:20am

'Triad': The Black Dragons


The Black Dragons

Dragonhead: Tu Yueh-sheng

The Black Dragons is the leading triad in Hong Kong and China, with the most members - more than 25,000 - worldwide. The Black Dragons are known for their cruel and brutal treatment. The organization is involved in counterfeiting, gambling, narcotics, clandestine immigration, prostitution, smuggling and extortion. Mainly through ethnic chinese diaspora, it is thought to extend to the United States, Canada, Thailand, Australia, Great Britain and Central America.

Much like Al Capone, Tu Yueh-sheng keep a very stylish public appearance, driving expensive sports cars and wearing expensive suits and jewellery. As a result of his gangster lifestyle he has also acquired a number of wounds. He has been shot twice and has had his arms badly mangled by meat cleavers, ans as a result cannot staighten his two middle fingers.