Hong Kong triads

Authored by: Yiu Kong Chu

Routledge Handbook of International Criminology

Print publication date:  April  2011
Online publication date:  May  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415779098
eBook ISBN: 9780203864708
Adobe ISBN: 9781135193850


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According to legend, the triad society was founded by monks of the Shaolin Temple in 1674 in China with the specific aim of overthrowing the alien Qing dynasty and restoring the native Chinese Ming dynasty. The original Chinese name of the triad society is Sahehui (i.e. Three United Society). The modern explanation is that the society name came from the combination of the three primary forces of the universe: Heaven, Earth, and Man. The English word triad was coined to describe these three forces of the society. After the Qing dynasty was overthrown in 1911, triad societies degenerated into purely criminal organizations. As Chinese migrants continued to move to Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, North America, and Europe, the triads emerged in Chinese communities all over the world (Morgan, 1960).

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