Triads are the asian equivalent of the italian mafia; however, they are greater in numbers and are more powerful, controlling much of the world heroin drug trade.

Before their criminal enterprising, the Triads actually began as a resistance movement to the Manchu emperors. The Manchu were from a country north of China (Manchuria) and were seen as foreign rulers, who took China’s northern capital (Peking) by force, and established their dynasty in 1674.

In the thirteen year of rule of the second Manchu emperor (Kiang Hsi), a monastery of fighting monks (“Siu Lam”) were recruited by the emperor to defeat a rebellion in ien. These monasteries received some imperial power as a reward. Due to court jealousies, these ien Buddhist monks were then themselves seen as a threat, and an army was sent to suppress them.
Eighteen monks escaped, and of those eighteen, five of them each founded their own secret society, dedicated to overthrowing the Manchu (also known as the Ching) Dynasty, and restoring the previous Chinese Ming dynasty, which was seen as a golden age for China. Their motto became “Crush the Ch’ing, establish the Ming”.

The family name of the Ming emperors was “Hung”, and their colour was red, so both Hung and red are ociated with Chinese secret societies. The societies called themselves the “Hung Mun.” Secret codes were developed, to frustrate the emperor’s spies. However, this secrecy, and the martial arts training, eventually led to the ociations being used for criminal purposes, instead of political ones. During this period many Hung Mun were seen as protectors of the people against a repressive and sometimes vicious regime of the emperor.

These secret societies played roles in several rebellions against the Manchus, notably the White Lotus Society rebellion in Szechuan, Hupeh and Shansi in the mid-1790’s; the “Cudgels” uprising in Kwangsi province, 1847 to 1850; and Hung Hsiu Chuan’s Kwangsi-based rebellion 1851-1865. Hung called himself Christ’s brother, and rebellion (called T’ai Ping) was crushed with the aid of the Western powers. The Boxer Rebellion in Peking in 1896-1900, involved the White Lotus Society, as well as other triads called the “Big Swords” and the “Red Fists.” Sun Yat Sen, the founder of Republican China, was allied with the Hsing Chung triad society, in his 1906 rebellion. Meanwhile, the Western powers and Japan virtually raped China, enforcing opium drug sales by war, stealing gold and heritage antiques, and demanding huge recompensation for any affront.

The Manchus (the Ch’ing) were overthrown in 1911, but there were no Mings left to restore. Sun Yat Sen’s successor was warlord Yuan Shik Kai, who worked with the triads in corruption. The Nationalist government set up in 1927 in Nanking was headed by a known killer and criminal member of the Shang Hai Green Gang, Chiang Kai Shek. The triads took over the government of southern China, and fought the Communists, later under Mao Tse Tung, for total control. The Western powers used this “Green Tang” organized crime group to suppress any labour unrest, and to kill off communists.

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