Asian Main Triad Societies in Macau

Jane's Intelligence Review March 1 2000


14K led by Wan Kuok-koi, alias 'Bang-nga Koi' or 'Broken Tooth Koi'

The 14K society was founded in 1947 by a Guomindang general, Kot Siu Wong. The gang's name came from its first headquarters, which had been located at No 14, Po Wah Road in Guangzhou. A 'K' was later added, derived from the symbol of 'karat' gold, which is harder than the local soft kind of the metal. Other sources maintain that 'K' comes from the first letter in the surname of the founder of the Triad. 14K was very active in Hong Kong in the 1950s and a major force behind the 1956 Triad riots in the colony, after which many of its members were deported to Taiwan. Numerous gangs all over the world now use the name 14K: they are not necessarily in any way connected. Wan Kuok-koi was arrested on 1 May 1998 and sentenced to 15 years in jail on November 1999.

Wo On Lok ('Harmony, Peace, Happiness')

Wo On Lok is an offshoot of the Chung Wo Tong ('the Lodge of Loyalty and Righteousness'). It was set up in the 1890s by Chinese nationalist leader Dr Sun Yat-sen to unite all local Triad members in Hong Kong in support of his republican party. The Wo On Lok first appeared in the Mongkok area of Hong Kong in 1934 and became known as 'Shui Fong' (Soi Fong in Macau), or the 'water room'. Since it was illegal to belong to a Triad society, a member could not say that he came from, for instance, the Wo On Lok, but at the time there was a famous fizzy bottled water in Hong Kong called 'On Lok', or 'Peace and Happiness'. Instead of saying "I'm from Wo On Lok", a member would identify himself to a fellow Triad member by saying: "I come from the water room."

Wo Shing Yee ('Harmony, Victory, Righteousness')

Wo Shing Yee is another, smaller offshoot of the Chung Wo Tong. The leader of the Macau chapter of the Wo Shing Yee, Kwong Kuok-leung, is serving a six-year sentence for Triad-related crimes.

Dai Huen Jai ('Big Circle Boys')

Initially founded by Maoist Red Guards who moved to Hong Kong after the Cultural Revolution in China, the group takes it name from the circle of army camps that surrounded the city of Guangzhou during the upheaval. Today it is a common name for several gangs based in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. Many members are former or serving officers in the PLA. The Big Circle Boys gangs specialise primarily in heroin smuggling from Hong Kong and China to the USA through Vancouver and Toronto. The Macau branch of the gang, which operates on the fringes of the territory's gaming industry, is led by a shadowy figure known as 'The Four-Eyed Bull', or 'Sein Ngan Ngau', a nick-name he earned because he wears thick glasses.

Sun Yee On

Sun Yee On is one of Hong Kong's oldest and most powerful Triads. At first registered officially as the Yee On Commercial and Industrial Guild, it later became known as the Yee On gang, or 'the Righteous and Peaceful Society'. It emerged as the most powerful secret society among the colony's Teochew-speaking residents. Its founder, Heung Chin, was deported to Taiwan in the 1950s.