A series of raids by Hong Kong police over the past three months has led to the arrest of 4,343 people allegedly connected to the city’s famed organized crime syndicate, the triads.
Officials say more than 7,500 different locations were raided across the Chinese Special Administrative Region, including on residences and gambling venues, as part of a joint operation with mainland Chinese authorities that netted another 42,990 arrests over the border, the South China Morning Post reports.
Police also said they seized around $13 million in cash, illegal drugs and contraband.
According to SCMP, the raids, which ended last week, are a part of an annual multinational attempt to crush criminal gangs. Last year, the police were unable to carry out their usual investigations due to the Occupy pro-democracy protests, meaning this year’s operation, codenamed Thunderbolt15, was extended by an additional two months.
Many of the arrests were tied to the triads, a well-known, transnational criminal organization operating in Hong Kong, China, Macau and Taiwan. The fragmented groups are largely responsible for extortion, drug and arms trafficking, as well as prostitution and gambling.
“The message we want to send out is that the police have zero tolerance to any kind of illegal activities, including triad activities,” Chief Superintendent of the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau, Au Chin-chau, told journalists.