Giles's cover image

Giles Pargin

Year of Award: 2016 Award State: Western Australia Defence And Security > Organised Crime
To enhance understanding of Asian triad societies and the influence on Australian illicit drug markets - Hong Kong, Taiwan

Major Lessons

During the research project I travelled to Taipei, Taiwan and Hong Kong. In Taipei I participated in the 2017 Taiwan International Symposium on Regional Security and Transnational Crime as well as interacting with local law enforcement agencies in Taipei where I was able gauge the level of activity and concern over organised crime activities.

In Hong Kong, the reputed world headquarters of triad societies, I had the privilege of attending the 14th Triad Course for Overseas Law Enforcement Officers. I gained valuable knowledge on the history and operation of triad societies in Hong Kong including current issues and trends.

Segments of the course were held at various Hong Kong Police Force premises including the Hong Kong Police Force Detective Training School, a Taoist Temple, The Hong Kong Jockey Club and I had the benefit of observing a ‘triad altar’ and re-enactment of a ‘triad ritual’.


From knowledge gained in both investigations of Asian organised crime in Australia and having the benefit of traveling overseas to both Taiwan and Hong Kong under this Churchill Fellowship, Australian law enforcement agencies are in a better position to understand Asian triad societies. It is through the recognition of triad history, culture and current day triad activities experienced by partner agencies in both Hong Kong and Taiwan we can enhance our efforts to combat the threat posed to Australia.

It is very clear that international organised crime groups and drug trafficking organisations are benefitting from Australia’s appetite in the consumption of illicit drugs and the Asian organised crime is certainly taking advantage of this market.

From the research it is also clear that it is unlikely triad societies, as an organisation, are responsible for this drug activity alone. It seems more likely than not, the individuals involved in the financing, the planning, the logistics and execution of this activity are criminal entrepreneurs. That is those who have criminal experience, have acquired criminal skills, have the criminal contacts both within Asia and internationally and have access to considerable funding, who may be individual triad members or may associated with triad members or societies.

There is further on-shore research needed in Australia to establish the current state of ‘triad’ activity amongst Australian cities, which I intend to pursue.

Dissemination of information

I have already presented my findings to a number of detective training school courses in Western Australia and I propose to further disseminate my findings by:

  • Preparing articles for Australian Professional Law Enforcement Journals;
  • Lectures to professional learning events for Australian law enforcement officers including detective training schools;
  • Submitting recommendations for improved investigation of Asian organised crime issues impacting Australia including improved international liaison.

Key words: Asian Triad Societies, Organised Crime, Triads, Gangs, Secret Societies, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan

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