The Triads are the third largest criminal organization operating in the States today and, as I always say, not counting corporations, because corporations are “supposed” to be legal. Supposed. Setting their strongest American foot in the now inexistent San Francisco, that now is part of Night City Megacity, these Chinese mobs have created a stranglehold on Chinese communities thought North America. The Triads originated in Hong Kong and Taiwan, where they were one of the three major secret societies, although I fail to see how can they be called “secret societies” if everybody knows about them, and have spread across the world, bringing their trademark of violence with them.
To understand the Triads, we must first look at the Tongs. A Tong is a secret, or not so secret, association of business and social leaders that exist within any sizeable Chinese community, working along similar lines to the early Sicilian Mafia. The Tong oversees the community’s development and integration into a city. For the most part, a Tong is law-abiding; furthering the aims of their community and businesses. And they police themselves VERY well. Tongs are the “social club” modeled on triads, and Triads are their strong and violent big brothers.
The strong suit of the triads, inside or outside Night City, is extortion, illegal gambling, and remember that in the 21st-century gambling needs to be very illegal to be illegal, drug and human trafficking and murder. With such an interesting CV you can guess that even not being as large as the Yakuza or as commercially involved as the Mafia, the Triad control the majorities of Chinatowns in American cities. This manifests itself in two major ways: Triad gangs who lurk on every street corner, and the Triad hierarchy who arrange, control and maintain profitable commercial interests. They also protect themselves on the Street in a most blatant fashion, as their turf is not policed particularly well, like almost any corner of America that is not rich enough to have an avid Corporate police, the Triads issue their own justice, that is pretty simple: those who cross them, die. And they do overreact to offenses. So, you know, just don’t provoke them unless you have insomnia and instead of sheep count you want a large body count.