Hong Kong’s criminal underworld, run by triads, has come to the fore over the past week after thugs appeared in the city’s popular shopping district of Mong Kok to complain about protesters blocking Nathan Road, a major artery in the area.
A handful of people were arrested after fights broke out between anti and pro-Occupy camps, and several of those arrested were found to have triad backgrounds. Many people suspect the triads were hired by the Hong Kong government or sent from Beijing. Some even suspect the police asked them to help clear the roads. Now, it looks as though somebody has written a satirical “declaration” notice from triads to Hong Kong’s student protesters to “set the record straight”.
In fairness, the original in Cantonese is apparently quite funny. The Putonghua translation, which is circulating widely on WeChat today, loses some of the original flavor. We’ve decided to put it into English so you can read it for yourself.
Here’s the letter:
Statement Issued by the Underworld Members of the Triads for All Hong Kong and Kowloon
Yesterday, some of our members showed restraint in the Mong kok area. We didn’t use face masks or anything major, just normal equipment. But starting from now, it will be embarrassing trying to use our normal methods to collect protection money from neighborhoods.
We love Hong Kong and its neighborhood of Mong Kok. However, you have blocked traffic, and not let us go to work. The entertainment industry in this spot is on the verge of bankruptcy. Wandering tourists are nowhere to be seen. All that’s left are you Occupy Central protestors that are taking up Nathan Road.
When we we go out on the street, there is no room for us to walk. We do not hold positions in office, nor are we intellectuals. But, we are all Hong Kongese.
Speak truthfully, we don’t want to take action against you because
we all share the same contacts. After all, we’re all just trying to get by.
You’ve got your recruitment process as do we; you’ve tricked children into doing your bidding just as we have.
The only difference between us is that we have salaries. If there’s a problem, we’ll come help them with life and limb. The word is that you Occupy people don’t get paid, not even bus fare to get around. That’s why there are some things that we can learn from you.
Everybody is doing something illegal. You are able to publicly call people to your cause, publicly attack the police, publicly lay siege to the government. The subway, taxis, the bus system, banks, finance houses… we have never been able to extend our protection racket to these things. We will have to learn from your example. Through it all, you are still protected by the police! Wow, you guys have some mad ability.
Therefore, there’s something we have to do: we can’t let you get the upper hand. We have to protect our turf, preserve our dignity. This is what we do in the triads.
The TRIAD Society’s Last Stern Declaration
Harassing the police has perennially been the work of our forefathers. Our triad society will never cooperate with the police. A society member that gets into trouble will never seek the help of the police. This is a basic rule of the underworld.
Triad business should be taken care of by triads;
Government business should be taken care of by governments;
And that’s the way it is.
But now, nobody believes this! It’s gotten so bad [accusations triad and police are cooperating in Hong Kong], we’ve had to set the record straight!