27th September 2023 – (Hong Kong) In a massive crackdown on triad activities and organized crimes, the Hong Kong Police, in collaboration with their counterparts in Guangdong and Macao, conducted a tripartite joint operation codenamed “THUNDERBOLT 2023.” Spanning from 12th June to 21st September, the operation resulted in the arrest of 6,400 individuals and the seizure of cash, dangerous drugs, and illicit goods with a total estimated value of approximately $410 million.
The primary objective of “THUNDERBOLT 2023” was to combat the illegal activities of triad societies and organised crime syndicates, neutralize cross-boundary crimes, and disrupt the criminals’ revenue streams. The police authorities of Hong Kong, Guangdong, and Macao dedicated substantial resources to this intelligence-led enforcement operation, demonstrating their united commitment to fighting against these illicit activities.
During the operation, the Hong Kong Police collaborated with various government departments, including the Immigration Department, the Customs and Excise Department, the Fire Services Department, and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department. Together, they conducted searches at around 3,100 locations, successfully neutralising numerous illegal premises such as gambling dens, vice establishments, unlicensed bars, and loan-shark companies. This concerted effort involved the mobilization of over 83,000 police officers.
A total of 6,400 individuals were apprehended during the operation, including 4,115 men and 2,285 women, spanning ages 10 to 85. Among the arrestees, 849 were Mainlanders, while 471 were non-ethnic Chinese individuals. These arrests were made in connection with various triad-related and organised crimes, including wounding, criminal damage, blackmail, possession of offensive weapons, operating illegal gambling establishments, operating vice establishments, human trafficking for prostitution, drug trafficking, assisting unauthorised entry into Hong Kong, usurious lending, obtaining property through deception, and money laundering.
The Hong Kong Police also seized a significant amount of illegal items, including gambling tools, offensive weapons, approximately $12 million in cash suspected to be proceeds of crime, and dangerous drugs worth over $350 million. The seized drugs consisted of cannabis, ketamine, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin.