Triads victim 'foiled murder attempt'

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The Independent Online
A MURDER attempt on a Hong Kong businessman during an alleged Chinese Triads power struggle failed when the victim fought back despite being shot twice in the back from close range, an Old Bailey court was told yesterday.

Ying Kit Lam, 31, tried to grab the gun and struggled with the gunman after being hit in the spine. He cheated death when the gun jammed as his attacker tried to fire two further shots at him.

After the attack in Chinatown, central London, the gunman ran off, dropping the gun, Martin Heslop, for the prosecution, told the court.

Armed police arrested the gunman, Wai Hen Cheung - known as George - hours later at an address in Manchester. After his arrest Cheung, 28, originally from Leicester, agreed to give evidence against fellow members of the Sui Fong Triads crime gang.

The prosecution alleges that Mr Lam, who is now believed to be back in Hong Kong, was targeted because he was believed to be involved in an attempt to take over the leadership of the Sui Fong gang - also known as the Wo On Lok Triads - in the United Kingdom. He was shot as a warning to deter others.

The court has heard how the group's involvement in crime stretched throughout Britain and as far as the Channel Islands.

The prosecution alleges that six Chinese men plotted the shooting. Clifford Wai Ming Tang, 36, of Astley, Manchester; Jason Shui Cheung Wan, 31, of Holloway, north London; Tak Kam Chow, 41, of Southgate, north London; Chong Chi Chan, 25, of Highfields, near Sheffield; Wai Yuen Liu, 31, of Southampton and Wai Wan Ho, 42, of Maida Vale, north London, all deny conspiracy to inflict grievous bodily harm.

Cheung told the court he pleaded guilty to his part in the crime at the Old Bailey earlier this year. Mr Heslop said Cheung, 'realising police had considerable evidence against him, started to tell them what he knew about Sui Fong, contrary to the oath of loyalty he had taken at his initiation ceremony'.

Cheung agreed the offences involved extortion, protection racketeering, violence and drug trafficking and was awaiting sentence. The offences had included slashing a man's face with a double-bladed Stanley knife. He said he had committed the crime 'under instructions', adding that all the defendants were members of the criminal gang.

While in prison Cheung was visited by Mr Tang and Mr Wan. Both men warned him against co- operating with the police, the court was told. 'He was reminded of his oaths of allegiance and loyalty and that the Triads penalty for informing was death. It was said that if he was sent to prison other Triads in jail would make sure he was seriously harmed, crippled or even killed.'

Mr Heslop said Mr Tang, nicknamed 'flying man', was anxious that it was not revealed he was a gang tai lo, a big brother or boss. Mr Tang and Mr Wan deny attempting to pervert the course of justice. Mr Tang also denies possession of a weapon with intent to commit an offence.

Shortly before the shooting Cheung 'lost his bottle' at the last moment, Mr Heslop said.

Cheung doubted whether he had the courage for the attack. 'He tried to call off the shooting, saying he was concerned and did not want to do it. After he was cursed by his companions he then decided to be loyal to the oath he had taken,' Mr Heslop said.

The case continues today.

(Photograph omitted)