According to local sources a series of raids over a three-month period by Hong Kong police have resulted in the arrests of approximately 4,343 people with alleged ties to the city’s infamous organized crime syndicate, the triads,  suspected of organized-crime activities in Hong Kong, Macau and the Guangdong province.

More than 7,500 properties, including gambling venues and residences, in Hong Kong were raided. The South China Morning Post has reported that 51,000 people have been arrested across the three regions. Specific crimes included  prostitution, gambling, drug dealing, weapons, counterfeit DVDs, contraband cigarettes and more.

According to the media the raids which ended last week, code-named Thunderbolt15, are part of an annual multi-national attempt to decimate criminal gangs. The operation’s  template will be utilized in the future to increase police cooperation in cross-border policing. The operation which was the longest combined effort of its kind was extended by an additional two months this year because the execution of regular investigations by police last year weren’t possible due to protests against the Chinese government (Umbrella Revolution) that lasted over two months.

Operating in Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong, the well-known transitional criminal organization of the triads were tied to many of the arrests and are largely responsible for gambling, extortion, prostitution as well as drug and arms trafficking. Au Chin-chau, Chief Superintendent of the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau told journalists, “The message we want to send out is that the police have zero tolerance to any kind of illegal activities, including triad activities.”

In news from Mainland China, there are reports of over 11,000 people arrested in Guangdong province. Outlets there are reporting nearly 4,000 were arrested in Macau. Some reports are indicating that more than 30,000 people described as “drug addicts” were detained throughout Guangdong province, Hong Kong, and Macau.