SINGAPORE: Triad in Trouble

Centuries ago the Triad Society was a kind of Chinese freemasonry whose aim was "to obey Heaven and act righteously," but the Singapore offshoot of Triad has degenerated in recent years into a Crime Incorporated of young toughs who terrorize the city. The occupying Japanese temporarily checked the Triad during World War II by lopping off fingers for even the smallest thefts, but today the Triad boasts a small army of extortionists and pimps, gunmen and gamblers, organized in four cadres identifiable only by number and their tattooed insignia on the backs of the Triad's 10,000 initiates.

Their main business is...

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