If Chinese restaurants are one feature of the world's Chinatowns, Chinese seeret societies are another, wrote Shanghai-born author Lynn Pan in her exeellent study of the Chinese diaspora, Sons of the Yellow Emperor [1]. Seeret societies have always been endemie to Chinese overseas communities, where they have survived on fear and corruption and prospered through their involvement in a wide range of legal and illegal businesses. For many years, Hong Kong was seen as the 'eapital' of this worldwide Chinese eriminal fraternity and, in the 1980s, many outside ob servers and analysts thought the gangs whieh were based in the then British colony would leave for Canada, Australia and Ameriea onee it reverted to Chinese rule in 1997.

The Australian authorities, for instance, thought that 90,000 criminals with links to Chinese criminal gangs, or the Triads, would leave as so on as the five-star flag was hoisted over Hong Kong [2].