The Chinese Triads

The Chinese Triads
Final Research Paper

By: Sevag Koulian

Presented for: Monika Thakur
Poli 302 – International Security

Concordia University
Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Triads are a major criminal organization and were founded during the 17th century in China. They originally began as political groups who campaigned for a China free of foreign influence and invaders.[1] Their influence slowly increased at the political level and through time they became involved in all types of illicit activities and started running gambling, drug, prostitution and human trafficking rings. The Chinese Triads currently have global headquarters located in Hong Kong where the British actually coined the term “Triad”: “The name has its origins in the triangular symbols of the different groups, which represent the Chinese belief in a connection between Heaven, Earth and Man.” As previously stated, The Chinese Triads started off in China, but have since branched out all across the globe with lasting impacts in those regions like the   United States for example.[2] Furthermore, the Triads are separated into many smaller groups and are not one big hierarchical organization. To give an example, law enforcement agencies believe there are over fifty groups just in the Hong Kong region alone.[3] The Sun Yee On are the largest in size with over 25,000 members, followed by the Wo group and the 14K. They also have large Triad gangs in Taiwan with the United Bamboo gang contained approximately 20,000 members.[4] Does this signify that the Chinese Triads are a transnational criminal organization? I firmly believe that the Triads are a transnational criminal gang, because they are divided into a number of various groups around the world while impacting the individual and state level. Due to the many groups involved, the Triads have clicks set up that conduct their own criminal activities and gain their own profits through the drug trade and prostitution for instance which...