Wo Shing Wo

Victims Unknown
Born Unknown
Died Unknown
Known for Unknown
Criminal penalty Unknown


Wo Shing Wo or WSW (Chinese: 和勝和; Jyutping: wo sing wo) is the oldest of the Wo Group triad societies, and is the triad with the longest history in Hong Kong. According to the Hong Kong police, the triad is involved in extortion, drug trafficking, gambling and prostitution.

Wo Shing Wo was established in Sham Shui Po in 1930. While maintaining its traditional stronghold in Tsuen Wan, it has extended its influence to Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok. It also operates in Tai Po, Sheung Shui and Fanling. The group continues to use the old Hongmen Secret Society initiating ceremony for newly recruited members.[citation needed]



Wo Shing Wo was established in 1930. In 1931 it moved its base from Chinatown in Toronto, Canada to Hong Kong with a goal to establish an anti-British colonial governance. By 1932 it had grown into 15 subdivisions in Chinatowns of cities around the world. During World War II, Wo Shing Wo helped invaders kill many Chinese villagers.[citation needed]

Because of political issues in China, many Chinese villagers left mainland and fled to Hong Kong. Wo Shing Wo membership expanded from 15,000 to 70,000 in 1950s.[citation needed]


In 1989 Wo Shing Wo became the centre of media attention after the terrorist attacks on the Indonesian coast bordering the South China Sea. In 1995 a young wannabe member of London's mainly Filipino Wo Shing Wo killed Philip Lawrence, a school headmaster. He was sentenced and it was proven that he actually had no ties with the Triad organisation.

As the United Kingdom prepared for the handover of Hong Kong back to the People's Republic of China, Wo Shing Wo redefined their organisation to prepare for their murky operations in mainland China. WSW split into six separate regional forces in Hong Kong—500 fully armed members in North Territories, hawkers in Sham Shui Po, love hotels in Jordan, with groups in Tsuen Wan, Wanchai and a new branch across the border in Shenzhen (1997).

In 2001, Wo Shing Wo traded drugs in discos and bars with Judi Fong and religious communities,[citation needed] promising that drugs can enhance religious experiences through visions and hallucinations. By 2005 WSW has become Hong Kong's No.1 drug trafficker.[citation needed] WSW's drug dealing activities and key criminal activities spread to China, Japan, Thailand and Australia. WSW is involved in various criminal activities and some of Hong Kong's politicians and businessmen are suspected to be supporters of the Triad group. WSW is split into two main forces, one based in Macau and another in Shenzhen. WSW began to emerge in Europe.

By 2006 Wo Shing Wo has control over the secondhand market in Hong Kong, including mobile phones, electronic appliances, stolen cars and exchange of weaponry at Mong Kok.[citation needed] Wo Shing Wo members are attacked by members of Wo on Lok. Firearms are used and many are hurt.[when?] Wo Shing Wo raises crime rate in Chinatown, London, United Kingdom.

In 2014, the Triad was thought by police to be responsible for the brutal stabbing on 26 February of Kevin Lau, a journalist known for his tough reporting on China, who had been fired from his position as the editor of the Ming Pao newspaper. The attack took place three days after thousands of people had demonstrated for press freedom, as a result of the dismissal and was carried out by an assailant riding pillion on a motorbike, which had been stolen in Fanling.

Minibus racket

From 2006 to at least 2010, the group controlled three red minibus routes and was extorting at least HK$14 million a year as protection fees from 30 drivers. Former group Dragonhead "Broken Mouth Bun", who, police say, is the leader of the group running the Tsuen Wan – Kwun Tong route, was arrested and bailed on 21 March 2010 in connection with the scheme. On each route, about 30 drivers pay at least HK$10,000 a month as a "protection fee" to the Wo Shing Wo. The WSW then make sure no other driver could run the routes, leaving the drivers able to earn HK$10,000 and HK$20,000 a month. Three other minibus routes running between Tsuen Wan and Kowloon East – Choi Hung, Tsz Wan Shan and Ngau Tau Kok – are controlled by another Wo Shing Wo leader.

International activity


A 1992 internal report by the Asian division of the Victoria Police documented Wo Shing Wo activity in Melbourne. The group is involved in the importation of heroin into Australia from Southeast Asia, as well as illegal gambling, illegal prostitution, extortion, immigration malpractice and money laundering. Chinese criminal groups are the primary wholesalers of heroin in Australia; street-level distribution in Melbourne is mainly outsourced to Vietnamese and Romanian groups.


The Wo Shing Wo has a presence in Antwerp, where it is active in heroin trafficking, money laundering, gambling and illegal workshops. The group also uses Belgium as a transit port for illegal immigrants.


The Wo Shing Wo was established in Toronto in 1930 as an international branch of the Wo Hop To, which had been founded in 1908. The Wo Shing Wo and most other triad groups in Canada utilize Vietnamese street gangs to undertake their street-level drug dealing.


The Wo Shing Wo is among five triad groups active in France. These gangs cooperate with Albanian and Turkish groups in the importation of heroin from the Golden Triangle.


The Wo Shing Wo is active in Dublin and Cork. Triads gained a firm foothold in Ireland in the 1980s, when large numbers of Chinese restaurants opened in these cities. Leaked diplomatic cables obtained by the Irish Independent in 2011 included intelligence reports by the Garda Síochána (Irish police) on Chinese organized crime in the country, specifically the activities of the Wo Shing Wo and their rival 14K. The reported criminal activities of the triads included the trafficking of women and children from China into Ireland, involvement in casinos, and money laundering. Gardaí also reported a great deal of interaction between the Chinese gangs operating in Ireland and Scotland. In March 2002, four self-confessed Wo Shing Wo members were deported from Ireland after being involved in several assaults and robberies in Dublin. Eight people believed to be working for the Wo Shing Wo, including a senior member of the gang, were arrested after local gardaí and members of the Garda National Drug Unit raided cannabis-growing operations at two homes in Drumshambo, County Leitrim in March 2009. In November 2012, 113 mostly Chinese and Vietnamese nationals were arrested in raids on 236 properties, suspected of growing, smuggling and selling cannabis in Ireland. Many of those arrested were believed to be connected to the Wo Shing Wo and operating under the orders of gang leaders in the UK.


The Wo Shing Wo branch in the Netherlands was founded and primarily operates in Rotterdam. In the 1970s, the group battled the 14K and Ah Kong for control of the heroin trade in Amsterdam. In addition to heroin trafficking, the group also operates gambling, prostitution, money laundering, loan sharking, robbery, extortion and human trafficking. The Wo Shing Wo has more recently also closely cooperated with the 14K.

South Africa

Since the mid-1980s, the Wo Shing Wo has been one of four Hong Kong triad groups operating in South Africa, predominantly in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Acting independently from the Hong Kong branch, the group's activities in the country include fraud, drug trafficking, firearms smuggling, extortion, money laundering, prostitution, illegal gambling, the smuggling of illegal immigrants, tax evasion, and the large-scale importing of counterfeit goods. The Wo Shing Wo was formerly heavily involved in the illegal harvesting and exportation of abalone (in 2000, the estimated gross income from the illegal exportation of abalone to Hong Kong was US$32 million).

United Kingdom

The Wo Shing Wo operates in London, Manchester, Portsmouth, Birmingham, Liverpool and Glasgow. Authorities believe the Wo Shing Wo is the largest triad group in the country. Beginning in the late 1980s, the Wo Shing Wo has been involved in the distribution in the United Kingdom of heroin and counterfeit goods from Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. The group has also been involved in conflicts with rival triad gangs over control of the stores selling pirated videos originating in China. The Wo Shing Wo in Scotland has cooperated with the 14K in cigarette smuggling.

Restaurant owner and alleged Shui Fong "white paper fan" (business adviser) Philip Wong was murdered by a gang of contract killers armed with machetes in Glasgow on 9 October 1985. It is believed Wong was murdered after refusing to do business with the Wo Shing Wo who wanted a share of his lucrative Chinese video rental business. Three men wanted for the murder have never been traced. In February 1999, Wo Shing Wo member and former Glasgow brothel manager Tony Yeung was jailed for his part in a multi-million-pound fake credit card scam. Wo Shing Wo footsoldiers ambushed 14K members in a machete attack on Glasgow's Sauchiehall Street in July 2003 in a dispute over the control of protection rackets. Wo Shing Wo members Jerome Castrillo, Ryan Parker-Saunders, Yu Xiang Liu, and Cho Wei Leong were convicted of the November 2007 murder of drug dealer Michael McGrath at the Old Bailey in November 2008. McGrath had allowed the gang to stash crack cocaine and heroin at his Carshalton home but was beaten to death after he began helping himself to the drugs. In January 2013, four men – Yik Fung Ng, Hiu Nelson Yeung, Chiu Yuen Li, and Siu Hung Yeung – associated with the Wo Shing Wo but who denied being members of the group were convicted of violent disorder following a street fight involving up to thirty men in Manchester's Chinatown in June 2010. During the trial, it was alleged that one side of the conflict included Wo Shing Wo members and associates who had bullied young men who socialised in Chinatown into paying to join their ranks, and that the violence erupted because a group of young men had refused.


The Wo Shing Wo dragonhead is elected every two years.

Dragonheads of Wo Shing Wo

  • 'Shanghai Tsai' (Shanghai Boy) (real name: Kwok Wing-hung). Dates unknown. Became widely known in March 2012, after it was revealed that he attended a dinner with some election aides of Hong Kong Chief Executive candidate CY Leung.
  • 'Broken Mouth Bun' (real name: Poon), born c1962. In office: 2008–2010;
  • 'Shu Tsai' ('Tsai' = 'boy'). In office from 2010.