Man 'was shot in Triad warning'

A Hong Kong businessman who planned to take over a Triads crime group was 'horrifically crippled' in Chinatown, London, as a warning, an Old Bailey court was told yesterday.

Ying Kit Lam, 31, almost died after being shot four times at close range, in September last year, as an example to others who sought to take over the Shui Fong Triads, a Chinese organised crime gang.

Martin Heslop, for the prosecution, said Wai Hen Cheung, 28, the Shui Fong member who shot Mr Lam and who is to give evidence against his six alleged co- conspirators, would 'lift the veil of secrecy' and provide a 'unique picture' of Shui Fong, whose criminal activities 'extended throughout the Chinese community across England, Wales, Scotland and the Channel Islands'.

Wai Ming Tang, 36, from Manchester; Chong Chi Chan, 25, from Sheffield; Wai Yuen Liu, 31, of Southampton; and Shui Cheung Wan, 31; Tak Kam Chow, 41, and Wai Wan Ho, 42, all from north London, all deny conspiring to inflict grievous bodily harm on Mr Lam.

Mr Tang, nicknamed 'flying man', denies having a firearm with intent to commit an offence and he and Mr Wan deny attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Cheung, known as George, admitted in March shooting Mr Lam. He will be sentenced at the end of this trial after which he will be given a new identity. Mr Heslop told the court that Mr Tang and Mr Wan used false names to visit Cheung in prison 'reminding him of his oaths of allegiance' to the secret society 'and threatening to kill him or have him killed' if he informed on them.

Cheung, who is to give evidence today, provided 'a unique picture in the UK of these closed Chinese groups', Mr Heslop said. Cheung, a chef at the Honeymoon Chinese Restaurant in Southgate, north London, became a Shui Fong member after he accepted the gang's offer to deal with threats he and a friend had received.

His 'ritualistic' initiation ceremony was conducted by the 'incense master' in the basement of the Princess Garden Chinese Restaurant in Fulham, west London. Blood was spilt into glasses of wine 'and drunk by those involved'. Oaths of loyalty were sworn on pain of death.

All six defendants were members of Shui Fong, which 'had as its principal purpose organised crime', Mr Heslop said. He stressed, however, that 'being a member of such a group does not mean that you are necessarily going to be involved in crime'.

The Triads' 'menacing reach' involved extortion, protection rackets, violence, illegal gambling and drug trafficking.

The trial continues today.