Date
26 September 2017
Hong Kong police have arrested 37 people in a crackdown on criminal gangs extorting lunch-box hawkers at construction sites.
Hong Kong police have arrested 37 people in a crackdown on criminal gangs extorting lunch-box hawkers at construction sites.

Triad members arrested for extorting hawkers at building sites

Hong Kong police have arrested members of some local triads that were alleged to have made millions of dollars from a lunchbox business racket and extortion at construction sites, Headline Daily reported Friday.

The members, said to be from three gangs, are believed to have charged fees from lunchbox hawkers for being allowed to deliver the food. The gangs had sought to control the lucrative lunchbox business, according to the report.

The arrests were made after police officers posing as hawkers were sent to the construction sites about 10 months ago.

The triad groups had been selling lunch-boxes at the sites in a “through train” way, as they had their own lunch-box operations, the report said, citing Ng Wai-hon, superintendent of the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau.

They monopolized the business by intimidating other lunch-box providers. Hawkers had to pay up HK$30,000 as “admission fee” if they wanted to sell lunch boxes at one of the sites. They also needed to pay a “protection fee” of several thousand dollars each month, with a payment of HK$3 to HK$4 for every sale of a lunch box worth HK$30, Ng said.

The triads were able to make HK$1 million a month at one construction site, Ng said.

Thirty-seven people, aged 18 to 58, were arrested after a series of raids at sites in Tai Po, Sha Tin, Tseung Kwan O, Yuen Long, and at a lunch-box making site in Tsuen Wan on Thursday, the report said.

Police also seized three account books, HK$90,000 in cash, 15 mobile phones and thousands of lunch boxes and drinks during the operation. Fifteen delivery vans used to transport lunch boxes were impounded.

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JH/JP/RC

EJ Insight reporter

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