Chinese Triads recruit young British thugs

Teenagers from British gangs are being recruited by Chinese "Triad" gangsters to help run their criminal empires, ia conference of senior police officers was told yesterday.

Detective Inspector Andrew Rennison, head of the Chinese intelligence unit within the Metropolitan Police, described four Triad societies which operate throughout the country, with strongholds in London, Southampton, Manchester, Northampton and Glasgow. He estimated that there were up to 200 core Triads, and predicted that the number of gang members would quickly rise if there is a large influx of people from Hong Kong when China takes over the colony in 1997.

However, a recent trend noted by his team was the recruitment of non- Chinese teenagers into the Triad movement. In a recent case, 20 members of a gang in Croydon, south London, aged from 13 to 15, were recruited by Triads through Chinese youngsters.

The teenagers, both black and white, had been used by the Triad in crimes, mainly centred in London's Chinatown.

"The teenagers enjoy the danger and are attracted by the gang's violent image," said DI Rennison.

Vietnamese and Malaysian young men from Britain were also being targeted. The British Triads, which have loose links with Hong Kong gangs, are involved in a number of illegal activities within the country's 200,000 Chinese community, including gambling, vice, and illegal immigration and passport fraud. Protection rackets, loan sharking, credit-card fraud, counterfeiting and drugs also form a major part of the gangs' activities.

"We know who the leaders are, and the main players, but. . . witnesses are very difficult to come by and are usually frightened," said DI Rennison. In one case a witness was attacked and left for dead by a gang wielding meat cleavers.

Speaking at the Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales' annual conference at Market Bosworth, Warwickshire, the Detective Inspector said the Triads encouraged their image of being extremely violent and organised to help them terrorise their own communities. However, they were often chaotic and loosely knit.

DI Rennison did not believe there would be a massive surge of new Triads coming to the UK after Hong Kong goes back to the Chinese. "Hong Kong is too big a gold mine to leave," he said. "The real threat comes from the domestic Triads."

n The police conference also heard that many forces now have sub- standard facilities for firearms training. Only a third of the police forces in England and Wales have their own outdoor ranges and have to rely on Ministry of Defence facilities, which are often unsuitable.

Superintendent Mike Waldren, head of the Metropolitan Police firearms unit, said: "In some cases the conditions the instructors have to work under are difficult to say the least. One force has an outdoor range overgrown with trees and bushes.

"With the increase in the peace dividend, the MoD is shedding assets - that includes ranges. Range availability will reduce and this is a fact."

The importance of after-care for officers involved in shooting incidents was also stressed by DI Rennison. As a possible consequence of ignoring the problem, he pointed to a recent out-of-court settlement of pounds 250,000, paid by the MoD to a soldier who brought a civil action against the Army for failing to provide support in dealing with trauma after the Falklands war.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there