14K Triad

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14K Triad
Founded 1945
Founder Kot Siu-wong
Founding location Guangzhou, Guangdong, China[citation needed]
Years active 1945-present
Territory Hong Kong, Macau, Mainland China, Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and South Africa
Ethnicity Cantonese, other Chinese ethnic groups[1]
Membership 25,000[2]
Criminal activities Drug trafficking, arms trafficking, arson, fraud, prostitution, human trafficking, identity theft, money laundering, extortion, murder, illegal immigration, kidnapping, racketeering, home invasion robberies[3]
Allies Snakeheads[4]
Rivals Sun Yee On, Shui Fong, Big Circle Gang

The 14K (十四K) is a Triad group based in Hong Kong but active internationally. It is the second largest Triad group in the world with around 25,000 members split into thirty subgroups. They are the main rival of the Sun Yee On, which is the largest Triad.[5]

Criminal focus[edit]

The 14K is 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, money laundering, murder, arms trafficking, prostitution, human trafficking, extortion, counterfeiting and, to a lesser extent, home invasion robberies.[6][7]

History[edit]

The 14K was formed by Kuomintang Lieutenant-General Kot Siu-wong in Guangzhou, China in 1945 as an anti-Communist action group. However, the group relocated to Hong Kong in 1949 when the Kuomintang fled from the Communists following the Chinese Civil War.[8] Originally there were fourteen members who were part of the Kuomintang, hence the name 14K. However, some say that 14 stands for the road number of a former headquarters and K stands for Kowloon.[9]

Compared with other triad societies, the 14K is one of the largest and most violent Hong Kong-based triad societies, and its members appear to be more loosely connected. 14K factional violence is actually out of control because no dragonhead is able to govern all factions of 14K worldwide.[10]

While Hong Kong's 14K triad gang dominates its traditional areas of operation and has expanded far beyond the former British colony, its focus remains Sino-centric. Hong Kong triads - including the 14K - have also expanded their activities in mainland China; a key motivation for members to cross into China is to avoid police security and anti-gang crackdowns in Hong Kong.[11][12]

During the 1990s it was the "largest Triad in the world." In 1997, there were a number of gang-related attacks that left 14 people dead. Under Wan Kuok-koi (nicknamed "Broken Tooth Koi", 崩牙駒), the 14K was being challenged by the smaller Shui Fong Triad. The next year, a gunman believed to be connected to the local 14K killed a Portuguese national and wounded another at a sidewalk café in Macau. In 1999, a Portuguese court convicted 45-year-old mob boss Broken Tooth Koi on various criminal charges and sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment. His 14K gang was suspected of drive-by shootings, car bombings and attempted assassinations. Seven of his associates received lesser sentences. Since the crackdown in Macau, the 14K triad resurfaced in North American cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago in the United States and Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, Canada, Sydney Australia, also the UK.[13]

In response to the massive publicity generated by Broken Tooth Koi, the 14K dramatically lowered its public profile. Meanwhile, loan sharking and money laundering continue to be the primary sources of revenue for the 14K in North America.[citation needed]

The 14K coordinated with Abu Sayyaf in the 2000 Sipadan kidnappings.

In August 2008, the 14K was allegedly involved in a high-profile kidnapping of a Chinese family in New Zealand near Papatoetoe, Auckland. The plan was to demand a ransom, but they were found before the money was paid.[14]

In popular culture[edit]

  • The 2012 video game Sleeping Dogs, set in Hong Kong, focuses on the Chinese Triads from the perspective of an undercover agent. The gangs Sun On Yee and 18K are based on the gangs Sun Yee On and 14K. In the game, as in reality, the two gangs are portrayed as harsh rivals who commit violent acts towards each other.
  • Robin Shou's character in the remade Death Race movie is named after the 14K.
  • 14K feature as the main triad gang in Threat Vector a novel by Tom Clancy written in 2012.
  • The 2002 video game The Getaway features a London-based branch of the 14K as one of several crime gangs in the game.

Notable members[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Canada's Triad gangs
  2. ^ 14K&usg=ALkJrhhkMACygcwg8SjZONwXYPLovb93KQ
  3. ^ Cracking down on the Triads
  4. ^ A rising threat from the Far East
  5. ^ Annie Le Blanc. "Chinese Triads". Archived from the original on 2009-10-19. 
  6. ^ Annie Le Blanc. "Chinese Triads Part 2". Archived from the original on 2009-10-19. 
  7. ^ Annie Le Blanc. "Chinese Triads Part 3". Archived from the original on 2009-10-19. 
  8. ^ Shanty, Frank; Mishra, Patit Paban Organized crime: from trafficking to terrorism, pg xvi, Volume 2. ISBN 1576073378 ABC-CLIO (24 September 2007)
  9. ^ Triads and organized crime in China
  10. ^ Peng Wang, "Divide and conquer - Factionalised triad gang spreads its wings",Jane's intelligence Review, 23. no.11 (2011):46-49
  11. ^ Peng Wang, "Divide and conquer - Factionalised triad gang spreads its wings",Jane's intelligence Review 23. no 11 (2011): 46-49
  12. ^ Varese, Federico (2011). Mafias on the Move: How Organized Crime Conquers New Territories. Princeton University Press.
  13. ^ The Origin of Asian and Chinese Gangs in Chicago's Chinatown
  14. ^ Meng-Yee, Carolyne (17 August 2008). "Xin Xin's family flee over Triad gang threat". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 14 September 2011.