Occasional Paper

Triad Societies and Chinese Organised Crime in South Africa

“South African law enforcement agencies should expect a considerable expansion of criminal activities by Chinese triad-based criminal groups. The most recent success in intercepting a shipment of narcotics from China says it all: on 10 January 2001, the authorities in Durban recovered one million mandrax tablets (methaqualone) in a Durban warehouse,with a street value of R40million. This is a significant volume of drugs by any standards, and it appears that the police have been unable to identify and arrest the senior persons who organised the shipment. The fact that South Africa now has diplomatic relations with the People‚Äôs Republic of China has led to a significant increase in trade and interaction between the two countries. These growing links will undoubtedly be of major benefit to South Africa, but they will also make it easier for Chinese criminal elements to operate in the slipstream of the expanding exchanges between the two countries. The activities of organised Chinese criminal groups deserve increased scrutiny. The South African authorities should anticipate their expansion
and accord a greater priority to the investigation of their criminal activities.”