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Thread: Triad Gangs and Kung Fu

  1. #1
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    Triad Gangs and Kung Fu

    Help me find some history on this fascinating topic!
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    December 12, 1988
    Crime Gangs Exercise Vast Power in Hong Kong
    By BARBARA BASLER, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES
    LEAD: Yan Sui Kuen was only 10 years old when, in a secret midnight ceremony on a Hong Kong rooftop, he swore eternal allegiance to a triad, one of the colony's infamous organized crime gangs.

    Yan Sui Kuen was only 10 years old when, in a secret midnight ceremony on a Hong Kong rooftop, he swore eternal allegiance to a triad, one of the colony's infamous organized crime gangs.

    Eleven young people were initiated that hot summer night, each one *****ing his middle finger and squeezing drops of blood into a cup. After the blood was mixed with water, each youngster drank from the cup, as 40 adult triad members, wearing white headbands, watched beneath the group's brilliant red banner.

    ''The ceremony was very long,'' Mr. Yan, now 42, recalled. ''They read many lessons and made us swear to many things.''

    The gangs are called triads because their mystic literature emphasizes a three-way relationship among heaven, earth, and man. But there is nothing fanciful about the fear they create among the people on whom they prey - the poorest of Hong Kong's 5.6 million people. Fear of Exported Gangs

    Now, as Chinese stream from Hong Kong to avoid the Communist takeover in 1997, the countries accepting large numbers of these new settlers fear that Hong Kong is exporting its gangs.

    ''We're on the phone every day now with one police department or another wanting to know about triads,'' complained a senior Royal Hong Kong Police official. ''We don't believe there is a mass exodus of triad members from Hong Kong, but everybody out there is worried and nervous.'

    Triads trace their roots back to 17th-century China, and although they call their leaders by traditional titles, such as White Paper Fan and Red Pole, they dominate many of the rough-and-tumble criminal businesses in modern Hong Kong.

    Hong Kong's 15 or so active triad gangs have an estimated 20,000 members in the colony, where they have a virtual monopoly on extortion rackets, collecting payoffs from small newsstands and huge construction companies alike. Most Powerful Gangs

    Their power has even attracted the attention of China's leaders. Four years ago, around the time Britain agreed to the 1997 transfer, the Chinese leader, Deng Xiaoping, observed, ''Illegal gangs in Hong Kong are very powerful, perhaps much more powerful than their counterparts in any other place.'

    The gangs can be crude and brutal. Last July a triad hit man wielding a meat cleaver hacked a Hong Kong businessman to death in a tennis court parking lot in front of stunned women and children. Days earlier, police said, the man had been sent the severed head of a black dog as a warning.

    Last week, in what police believe was a revenge killing, a young Chinese hairdresser having a snack in a convenience store was attacked by seven triad gang members using barbecue forks and broken bottles. The police said when they arrived the forks were still imbedded in the victim's face and body.

    Triads can also be sophisticated and businesslike: the police say white-collar enterprises sometimes insure their own safety by employing several triad members in their public-relations departments. Control of Bus Routes

    Along with interests in loan sharking, illegal drug sales, pornography and prostitution, triads have virtually taken over the home-contracting business here and even control which buses are allowed to operate along some of Hong Kong's busiest streets, according to a report on the gangs.

    It is not difficult to discern the triad touch in certain crimes, said Brian Merritt, chief staff officer of the police organized and serious crime group.

    ''If a restaurant owner won't pay up the first time he is asked,'' he said, ''the next day the triad will come back at his busiest hour, and 50 triad thugs will spread out and take up all his tables. If nightclubs don't pay, they like to toss live snakes on the dance floor.''

    Triad gangs control many of the colony's popular martial arts schools, provide most of the bouncers for nightclubs and many of the extras in Hong Kong kung fu movies, the police said. 'Kung Fu Stars Are Straight'

    ''The big kung fu stars here are straight,'' said Mr. Merritt, ''but a lot of the extras are triad members. They are the ones who practice martial arts in big numbers.''

    Dennis Collins, chief superintendent of the Royal Hong Kong Police, said triads work through a variety of methods, ''sometimes by establishing near-monopolies in legitimate businesses, other times setting up illegal gambling, loan sharking and the like.''

    Some triads here, he said, have ''business relationships'' with some members of Chinese gangs, called tongs, in the United States.

    ''But there is a big difference,'' Mr. Collins said. ''A tong may or may not be infiltrated by triad thugs. It may or may not be engaged in illegal activity. But a triad is by nature a criminal organization.'' Triads in U.S. Since 1840's

    Mr. Merritt said there have been triads in America ''since the 1840's, when large numbers of Chinese immigrants arrived. Some of the U.S. tongs are simply triad fronts.'' But the Hong Kong police have no estimate of how many triad members have left the territory.

    It is a crime in Hong Kong to be a member of a triad or even to claim to be a member. To charge someone, the police need only uncover triad flags or banners in an apartment or office. Mr. Collins said a case can even be made if the police find triad poems - grandiloquent works about eternity, fidelity and brotherhood that begin with phrases such as, ''In the beginning of time an oath was sworn beneath the peach tree.''

    Mr. Yan, the former triad member, said young people are sometimes coerced into joining by older triad members.

    ''But like many others I wanted to join,'' he said. ''You needed them because of all the fights and even to go to parties. Also, I wanted to find out all the secrets.''

    After years of stealing, collecting protection money and selling drugs for his triad, he drifted away and later became a born-again Christian. Gangs in Canada, Britain

    In Canada a major 1988 crime report put triads at the top of the list of the most dangerous organized crime groups in the country, along with the Mafia. In Britain, police reportedly are debating lowering height requirements in order to recruit more Chinese officers to combat growing triad crime, and in the United States the Federal Bureau of Investigation routinely consults Hong Kong on triad matters, the police said.

    But Mr. Merritt and Mr. Collins deny that Hong Kong is exporting triads to other countries.

    ''Criminal activity in Hong Kong has been fairly stable for the past 10 years, and if triad gangs were relocating, surely we would see a drop in crime,'' Mr. Collins said. While conceding that some members may be going to other countries as legal or illegal emigrants, he insisted there is ''not this mass movement that has other countries so nervous.'' Fought Against Communists

    In the modern struggle for control of China, triads fought the Communists as hired thugs of the Kuomintang, fleeing to Hong Kong or Taiwan when the Communists won, Mr. Collins said. That historic enmity has fueled the rumors that triads will leave Hong Kong before 1997, he added.

    In the meantime, Hong Kong has begun yet another push to break the hold of triads here, distributing ''anti-triad'' information kits to schools, filling the streets with anti-triad posters and the air waves with anti-triad commercials.

    The government has launched its own version of an anti-triad ceremony, a tribunal where the disaffected can go and secretly renounce their triad membership.

    Fear of triads is so great that for several months the government reportedly could not find anyone willing to lease space for the tribunal's offices, and a spokesman said it now plans to locate the group in one of its own buildings.

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  2. #2
    Its quite possible that organisations this old will have their own martial styles and techniques. No doubt having special signals to recognise each other similar to the Masons.

    I remember reading ages ago on the internet after being a little side tracked from research, about the Triads. It was how HSBC is owned by the triads.

    The original bank Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation was created to finance British trade in the far east in 1865.

    It argued that this would have been impossible without the cooperation of the Triads who had influence over the countries assets. They owned businesses, banks and had many government officials in their pocket.

    So for Britain to trade successfully it had to cooperate with the Triads. This meant they were given a stake in Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. This allowed the British to trade freely and also gave them access to otherwise closed markets.

    This would make sense as a centuries old organisation would not be expected to operate on the same level of street thuggery that it began its life in.

    If you look at HSBC's history it is one of acquisition. It grows through buying other companies aggressively. If those influences that created Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation still exist, they would be operating in a similar manner.

    Notice the hexagon logo. It was created from the original Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation flag. Could it be a triad sign?

    Whether I not this account is true, I simply do not know. But it made for some interesting reading.

    What I am sure is that the Triads are not restricted to street crime, neither are the mafia. They get smart, rich and get into the financial markets. This has been proven.
    Thanks

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  3. #3
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    Interesting info I'm really interested in this subject because these street punks may be the last link to REAL Gung Fu...suppossedly my stepdad's teacher was teaching bikers in montreal in the 70's, and their is a bunch of stories of him using his martial arts, and his Hop Gar teacher has a similar background...

    Htowndragon mentioned this...

    "ng was 14K triad, one of the original members, #2 man, known as the dragon prince, he was the bodyguard of the dai lo.

    he messed up a karate guy once, lost in a leitai match in taiwan because of fatigue but still made his opponents face swell all over, etc. i heard some gang-related stories too, he always carried a gun on him."


    An old kungfumag forum member posted this...
    NorthernShaolin
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    diego,

    Interesting reading. Master Ming was known as Master Harry Ng here.

    From what I could remember, it was common knowledge that Master Ng had a small school on Powell street where he trained the Chinese Mafia soldiers late at nite. The style that he taught was Hop Gar which has always been associated with the Chinese mafia. In the past, if you mention that you learned Hop Gar, you were a thought as a ganster and regarded as a dangerous person who should not to be associated with.

    It was very common in the old days for the Chinese Mafia to hire kung fu masters such as Master Ng, put up a front kung fu school, and have them train their youth gang members known as soldiers.

    Master Ng's death was an effort by the Chinese mafia to stop an uprising of their soldiers and gave the excuse that Master Ng could not control his students, i.e., the trained gang soldiers. Originally the soldiers were given an assignment but were unable to complete it but still demanded payment of $2,000 from the mafia for an unsucessfully job performed. If the Chinese mafia did not pay, the soldiers threaten to expose their gambling houses and prositution houses.

    As a result of the threat, the mafia hired a 15 year old kid and was assigned to shoot Master Ng who took four slugs (22-cal.), one in each knee and two in the chest. This sent a loud message to the soldiers-back off or your going to be next.

    Anyway, my knowledge seems to be in line with David Chin's accounts but I really can not verify if it is true.

  4. #4
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    Slighty OT

    This isn't a stated explicitly as triad gang, but it is a martial arts gang. It may still be a triad.

    Houses razed in East Timor mob rampage
    (AFP) – 5 hours ago

    DILI — Angry mobs of martial arts gang members set fire to dozens of homes Monday as they rampaged through an East Timorese town after one of their number was killed in a stabbing, police said.

    More than 100 houses as well as vehicles caught fire in the unrest in Zumalai, on East Timor's southern coast, a police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.

    He said the violence was "triggered" by the stabbing of a gang member, who was also a police intelligence agent, in the town on Sunday.

    "Three people are now in police custody. The security condition there is now under control," the police source said.

    A military source who also refused to be identified confirmed the circumstances of the unrest.

    Martial arts gangs are common in East Timor, a tiny half-island state which achieved independence from Indonesia in 2002 following a bloody referendum.

    United Nations police returned full control of East Timor to the national force in March, more than four years after clashes between rival factions of the security forces threatened to push the country into civil war.

    The UN will maintain a presence of up to 1,280 police to support local police until after a presidential election in 2012, when the UN peacekeeping mission plans to withdraw from the southeast Asian state.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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    Its quite possible that organisations this old will have their own martial styles and techniques. No doubt having special signals to recognise each other similar to the Masons.
    There was and still is a major Triad set up in Fut San. There, styles like Wing Chun, Hung Gar, and Hung Sing choy lee fut were members of the triads. and, yes indeed, there are secret signals found within the gung fu material.

    Notice the hexagon logo. It was created from the original Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation flag. Could it be a triad sign?
    Rhomboid, Triangle, square,Parallelogram, and a circle are the shapes used by them. after looking at their logo i see a lot of triangles in it. so its a possibility that their logo has some triad roots in it.
    Last edited by hskwarrior; 08-15-2011 at 01:23 PM.
    I'm pretty sure the only thing tongs do nowadays is make sure Chinese restaurants don't pay out tips to their waiters. - Pazman[/B]

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    Lots of triangles in Wing Chun

  7. #7
    in southern china the "kung fu villages" all used to be bandit strongholds

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  8. #8
    in southern china the "kung fu villages" all used to be bandit strongholds
    especially places like Fut San.

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    Crikey, you would think the entire population except for the nobles and their courts were bandits or something. lol

    Family associations were also centers of kung fu learning in the early days.
    Surname associations are in every chinatown in NA. Even Chin wu exists in NA now although it is not like that in China except for the direct offshoots of that school in China. Back in my hometown we had a guy who called his school ching wu even though he had never been a member of the actual, had never even been to the actual and didn't know much about the history of the actual. Anyway, here nor there and just an indication of how many in the kung fu scene in the early days was making it up as the went after watching a fresh episode of Kung Fu on TV. lol

    Also, KMT support groups, ex soldiers of this nationalist organization and so on set uyp shop across the americas long ago.

    these are not representative of criminal triads and between family associations and the KMT there are numerous Kung Fu schools to be found.

    Criminal gangs tend to be filled with thugs and bullies. Many of whom do not have the discipline required to undertake a full course of Kung Fu as a physical regimen.

    Yakuza in Japan in that respect are somewhat different because of the tie to the samurai culture etc. A different breed of triad guy.

    IMO, it is the KMT schools that tend to be pretty good with the teachers in them and the curriculum offered. Other than that, case by case for me. some schools are ridiculous and I turn around as quick as a gay man accidentally entering a straight brothel! Others, not so much like that at all!
    Kung Fu is good for you.

  10. #10
    everything you said is wrong

    you are big dum dum
    Last edited by bawang; 08-16-2011 at 11:00 AM.

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    Crikey, you would think the entire population except for the nobles and their courts were bandits or something. lol
    More than half the male population in southern china were members of some kind of society that wasn't kosher to the Qing Government. yes some were threatened to join but others joined because of the goals of specific societies. No country should ever let their people starve while the gov lives like fat cats. Human Pork Buns was a serious thing back then.

    these are not representative of criminal triads and between family associations and the KMT there are numerous Kung Fu schools to be found.
    I'm not a big fan of the KMT. They outright murdered one of our elders, his wife and child.

    Criminal gangs tend to be filled with thugs and bullies. Many of whom do not have the discipline required to undertake a full course of Kung Fu as a physical regimen.
    I can't even find the words to respond that mess. LOL. well, you're wrong there man.
    I'm pretty sure the only thing tongs do nowadays is make sure Chinese restaurants don't pay out tips to their waiters. - Pazman[/B]

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    Quote Originally Posted by bawang View Post
    everything you said is wrong

    you are big dum dum
    @Bawang

    Yes, I"m wrong because the Kung Fu school I attended was a family association and a KMT meeting centre. lol, what you said was shortsighted and stupid. So, there you have it.

    The KMT meeting centre in the region where I am now has Kung Fu training and their centres in Chinatowns across Canada, more or less all of them, have a Kung Fu sifu.

    The family associations will often have a sifu as well. 2 of the ones I am familiar with have Kung Fu schools attached.

    As for criminal gangs? Useless and a blight on society. I don't put much stock in their membership and don't think they have much power except when in a pack and using weapons. The Kung Fu?

    not so much.

    By the way, I live in Canada and the experience here is different, yet similar across the country as far as structure goes.

    -You have independent schools which have been around for varying times.
    -You have KMT centres in every chinatown across the country and they often include a Kung Fu teacher
    -You have familiy associations that also frequently have Kung Fuu instructors
    -You have Chinese cultural centres which ALL have modern wushu and Kung fu training available.
    -You have amalgamated Kung Fu associations.
    -You have private teachers.

    We have ZERO kung fu gangs running around. The triads have been pressed so far down by the RCMP they're hardly heard of. People aren't afraid of them unless they're total FOBs so they don't get much done in most of Canada. More of a west coast Issue but concentrated in one area really. Pretty much powerless and no reach into the rest of the country for the most part. Certainly not promoting Kung Fu, these guys are scum crack dealers, smack dealers, rock/powder/down hustlers. they'll use a gun before they use any Kung Fu.

    The bravado is nonsense really. Laughable. Kung Fu gangs....yeah, sure. lol
    Kung Fu is good for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hskwarrior View Post
    More than half the male population in southern china were members of some kind of society that wasn't kosher to the Qing Government. yes some were threatened to join but others joined because of the goals of specific societies. No country should ever let their people starve while the gov lives like fat cats. Human Pork Buns was a serious thing back then.
    Well, the qing were mean weren't they. Criminals only by virtue of law and not by virtue of gang action.


    I'm not a big fan of the KMT. They outright murdered one of our elders, his wife and child.
    And yet, I bet you've done a Lion Dance at a Sun Yat Sen Center in your day, or a demo on 11/11? No? Maybe?


    I can't even find the words to respond that mess. LOL. well, you're wrong there man.
    nay, I've never met a gangsta who wasn't a low grade piece of scum wannabe a real human being but too stupid to do the work. I have zero respect for gangsters and gangs and would not hesitate to make that clear if need be by hook or by crook.

    Gangs are a pain in the ass and should be rubbed out of society entirely.

    EDIT* Not to mention the Qing have been gone for 100 years and have little if any relevancy to Kung Fu practice today except for some holdover hand signals and bows and legends and fairy tales about old masters.

    Triads these days are typical organized criminal syndicates. they don't promote good things unless something is in it for them, such as less harsh eyes upon them. Like when the Hells Angels do a toy run. It's all for appearance, because in the meantime someone is getting shot over drug territory etc.
    Last edited by David Jamieson; 08-16-2011 at 11:51 AM.
    Kung Fu is good for you.

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    We have ZERO kung fu gangs running around.
    except for that article and in america at least, there never were kung fu gangs. there may have been gangs where its members knew gung fu, but i've never heard of a gung fu gang till now.

    Well, the qing were mean weren't they. Criminals only by virtue of law and not by virtue of gang action.
    if they were sooooo good, there wouldn't be any need for revolution now would there be?

    And yet, I bet you've done a Lion Dance at a Sun Yat Sen Center in your day, or a demo on 11/11? No? Maybe?
    Yes, we have. however, its my personal dislike in the KMT for doing something shady to their own people. Brother Sun Yat Sen is respected for being a brother. still, don't think the Hung Society was completely happy with him. and, in the past we did support them but that was before we learned more about what they did to the Hung Sing CLF people.

    nay, I've never met a gangsta who wasn't a low grade piece of scum wannabe a real human being but too stupid to do the work. I have zero respect for gangsters and gangs and would not hesitate to make that clear if need be by hook or by crook.
    well how bout you tell us how you really feel? don't hold back. LMAO.

    EDIT* Not to mention the Qing have been gone for 100 years and have little if any relevancy to Kung Fu practice today except for some holdover hand signals and bows and legends and fairy tales about old masters.
    haha. for someone interested in the history those things help to paint a better picture of the past. its better IMO to know than not to know. the questions will be asked. would you have the answer?

    Gangs are a pain in the ass and should be rubbed out of society entirely.
    I'd put money on it that you wouldn't turn down their help if your life was in danger.
    Last edited by hskwarrior; 08-16-2011 at 12:00 PM.
    I'm pretty sure the only thing tongs do nowadays is make sure Chinese restaurants don't pay out tips to their waiters. - Pazman[/B]

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    Quote Originally Posted by hskwarrior View Post
    except for that article and in america at least, there never were kung fu gangs. there may have been gangs where its members knew gung fu, but i've never heard of a gung fu gang till now.
    You and me both. I knew there were guys mixed up in the triads that were serious kung fu guys as well. In fact.... nevermind.

    there is a big however and several buts that need to go with this for sure.


    if they were sooooo good, there wouldn't be any need for revolution now would there be?
    They usurped the Han. You know how those Han Chinese get when you take their stuff.


    Yes, we have. however, its my personal dislike in the KMT for doing something shady to their own people. Brother Sun Yat Sen is respected for being a brother. still, don't think the Hung Society was completely happy with him. and, in the past we did support them but that was before we learned more about what they did to the Hung Sing CLF people.
    In power struggles, shift happens. Point is SYS, CKS and others were KMT and there would be no ROC without them. It was the KMT who established that and not any secret society although, secret societies did of course help to some degree. Still, the KMT was more about opposing communism from Mao and his army of the north than teh Qing. the Qing fell at the hands of foreigners and not by any action of the Chinese people themselves except in supporting roles. Even then...at that time Qing WAS the dynasty that rules China. So the CHinese supported foreign armies in destroying themselves in reality... what a time.


    well how bout you tell us how you really feel? don't hold back. LMAO.
    I can't really say exactly how repulsive I find the behaviour of Gangs in our society. they are a blight. It's not so much the drug dealing. If people wanna do drugs in the comfort of their own homes I could give a crap.

    However, the human trafficking? yeah, that is bad man.
    Kung Fu is good for you.

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