Sun Yee On

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Sun Yee On 新義安
180
Founded 1919
Founding location Hong Kong
Years active 1919 – present
Territory Hong Kong, Mainland China, United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Netherlands, United States, Thailand, Canada, Australia, Central America
Ethnicity Han Chinese
Membership 55,000 - 60,000+
Criminal activities racketeering, counterfeiting, extortion, drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering, murder, illegal gambling, prostitution
Allies Wo Hop To
Rivals 14K, Wo Shing Wo
Sun Yee On
Traditional Chinese 新義安
Simplified Chinese 新义安

Sun Yee On, or New Righteousness and Peace Commercial and Industrial Guild, is one of the leading triads[1] in Hong Kong and China. It has the most members, more than 55,000, worldwide.[2] It is also believed to be active in the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.[2][3]

History[edit]

Sun Yee On was founded by Heung Chin, originally from Teochew (Chaozhou), in 1919.[4] The organisation, which has direct links to the Chinese central government[citation needed], is involved in counterfeiting, gambling, narcotics, clandestine immigration, prostitution, smuggling and extortion[citation needed]. Mainly through ethnic Chinese diaspora, it is thought to extend to the United States, Canada, Thailand, Australia and Central America.[5] The founder was deported to Taiwan in the early 1950s and continued to lead the organization from there.[4] Sun Yee On was allegedly taken over by his eldest son Heung Wah-yim, who ostensibly worked as a law clerk.[4] The triad is also noted as being founded by "Teochew and Hokkien immigrants" to Hong Kong.[6]

1980s spill[edit]

In February 1986 a former Hong Kong police officer, Anthony Chung, who had become a member of Sun Yee On, asked the police for protection.[4] He identified Heung Wah-yim as the leader of the triad and this led to the police arresting eleven members of the Triad on 1 April 1987.[4] Whilst searching Heung Wah-yim's law office they found a list of 900 numbered names which appeared to be the membership roster of Sun Yee On.[4] In October Heung Wah-yim was brought to trial, along with five accomplices who all pleaded guilty.[4] Heung Wah-yim professed his innocence throughout the trial, claiming to be the president of a local chapter of the Lions Club and that the list found in his office consisted of potential donors.[4] Chung and together with another former member were the main prosecution witnesses. On 20 January 1988 the jury found five of the defendants guilty, including Heung Wah-yim who was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison, acquitting the sixth.[4]

2000s[edit]

The triad operates vice establishments in several Tsim Sha Tsui and Yau Ma Tei, or at least did in November 2010 when a 29-year-old alleged office-bearer or "red pole" of the triad, named "Sai B" Chan, was arrested for vice offences and money laundering.[7]

Lee Tai-lung Lee, a Sun Yee On boss in Tsim Sha Tsui, was murdered in front of the Kowloon Shangri-La hotel on 4 August 2009 by members of the Wo Shing Wo gang. It was supposedly a revenge attack ordered by Leung Kwok-chung, a senior member of a Wo Shing Wo crew in Tai Kok Tsui who was injured by Lee during a bar fight in July 2006 in Prat Avenue.[8][9] Following Lee's death, three of his former followers stepped in to defend his lucrative entertainment empire from other triads. In 2011(?), Lee's three followers were tracked by 'Ko Tat', another 'red pole fighter' in Wan Chai, who failed to spread his influence across the harbour. Tai Hau, leader of another Sun Yee On faction in active in Tuen Mun tried to encroach upon Lee's West Kowloon and Tsim Sha Tsui operations. His attempts were thwarted by an undercover police operation, as a result of which 222 people were arrested in January 2012. The Organised Crime and Triad Bureau suspects that 'Ko Chun' may be the latest kingpin of Lee's original turf.[9]

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. In Sleeping Dogs the players plays as Wei Shen, an undercover cop from San Francisco, on a mission in Hong Kong to infiltrate the organized crime lords of the notorious "Sun On Yee". The name of the Triad "Sun On Yee" is a switch of words for the Sun Yee On. Most of the story of Sleeping Dogs involve real people involved with the Sun Yee On that are portrayed as the same people but with different names.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Davies, Anthony (25 August 1995). "Asia Week". Retrieved 28 May 2006. 
  2. ^ a b "Illuminated Lantern". Retrieved 28 May 2006. 
  3. ^ "Transnational Communities Programme". Retrieved 28 May 2006. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Dannen, Fredric (July 1997). "Partners in Crime: Part 2". The New Republic. Retrieved 28 May 2006. 
  5. ^ Shanty, Frank; Mishra, Patit Paban Organized crime: from trafficking to terrorism, pg xvi, Volume 2. ISBN 1576073378 ABC-CLIO (24 September 2007)
  6. ^ Bitter power struggle as election looms for Wo On Lok triad, SCMP, 24 February 2013
  7. ^ "'Guru of brothels' busted on $380m laundering rap", The Standard, 22 Nov 2010
  8. ^ Lee, Diana (13 January 2011). "Brutal slaying seen as triad revenge". The Standard.
  9. ^ a b Lo, Clifford; Cheung, Simpson (19 January 2012). "Forget blood, it's all about the money", South China Morning Post

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