Triad involvement in the Umbrella Movement: Extralegal service provider or hegemonic security agents

Lo Wing

City University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong returned to China under the principle of “One Country, Two Systems” in 1997. Its mini-constitution stipulated that the Chief Executive shall be elected through universal suffrage. In 2014, Hong Kong people thought a decision made by the National People’s Congress of China had deviated from the promise, resulting in a series of protests, police suppression, and people’s occupation of several sites for more than two months. It was the largest civil disobedience movement in Hong Kong. The police was unable to remove the occupiers. Through ethnographic research method and individual interviews, the present study found that the government temporarily lost its governance of occupied sites, which created a vacuum for triads to provide extralegal services to meet the needs of both conservative and liberal camps. The study found that triad society members were involved in protecting and attacking protestors.  The presentation will address the reasons how and why they participated in the Umbrella Movement.


Hong Kong, Umbrella Movement, Triad Society, Occupy Central


Professor Lo is the Head of the Department of Applied Social Sciences of City University of Hong Kong, specializing in Chinese triad society research. He is a member of the International Advisory Board of the British Journal of Criminology, editorial board member of Youth Justice, Asian Journal of Criminology, and British Journal of Community Justice, founding general editor of the Routledge Studies in Asian Behavioral Sciences, and founding associate editor of the International Journal of Criminology and Sociology.


The society is devoted to promoting criminological study, research and practice in the region and bringing together persons engaged in all aspects of the field. The membership of the society reflects the diversity of persons involved in the field, including practitioners, academics, policy makers and students.

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