Detectives launch huge crackdown on Triad gangs
DETECTIVES have begun a major clampdown on Triad gangs operating in Ireland.
Asian gangsters involved in extortion, drug cultivation and other criminal activities are being targeted by gardai.
Sources say several Triad groups are now established here and are involved in serious criminal activity.
"There is such a culture of secrecy and fear in relation to how these gangs operate that it is often very hard for gardai to make much inroads in these investigations," a source said.
Our exclusive photo shows one suspect being arrested after a dawn raid in Dublin city centre.
He was questioned by gardai in Mountjoy about the false imprisonment of another Asian man, which happened in north Dublin over Christmas.
The kidnapping is linked to Asian gang activity particularly in the Parnell Street area of the capital, which has a large number of prominent Asian restaurants and businesses.
In many incidents the gangs here are working under instructions from Triad bosses outside of Ireland.
"This is a relatively new problem, but there are a number of Asian gangs operating now extorting money from businesses and their fellow nationals," said a source.
"There is a Triad gang problem in the city but there are also other Asian gangs operating including some from countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines.
"This week's arrest involves southeast Asian gangs. These criminals target people from their own countries and are making quite a lucrative trade in their enterprises."
During the photographed arrest this week, armed detectives swooped on the north inner-city apartment complex before escorting the cuffed Asian man to one of their unmarked patrol cars.
Since last year gardai have been monitoring gangs with some success.
On one occasion they raided 236 premises and arrested 54 foreigners under an investigation codenamed Operation Wireless.
Officers seized 4,200 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of €3.5m during searches in Dublin, Meath, Wexford and Cork last November.
The most serious outbreak of violence involving Triad gangs in the capital in recent times broke out last October at Capel Street.
In the early-morning attack, two men were left seriously wounded, one of them with a near-severed leg.
The incident occurred just before 2am on October 26 and involved a gang of six men armed with weapons that included knives, a hammer and a machete or sword.
A large pool of blood stained the footpath and the front of a bar on the street where the attack unfolded.
Gardai believe six men attacked three other men on the street as part of a dispute within the Chinese community.
In a separate matter, the Herald previously revealed that a small family based gang of Vietnamese criminals based in Birmingham are controlling much of the multi-million euro Irish cannabis growhouse industry, garda investigations have revealed.
The gang are exploiting "down and out and destitute" fellow nationals to come to Ireland and operate highly sophisticated growhouses all across the country.