Triad justice: alternative justice approach in Chinese underworld

Dr Sharon Ingrid  Kwok1, Professor  Tit Wing Lo2
1Western Sydney University , Bankstown , Australia, 2City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon , Hong Kong

Triad society is the biggest criminal organization in Chinese community.  Some organized crime researchers pointed out, mafia type criminal organizations do share similar nature as “political organization”, perform the function as “governance” and in particular, “the administration of justice”.

The administration of justice depends on the consensus, which is further built upon by culture and norm shared among members and the structure of the community.  Therefore, one must look into the subculture and structure of criminal organization in order to understand their perception and administration of justice.

Due to illicit nature of these organizations and their activities, disputes cannot be resolved through formal justice system but via an alternative approach.  The subculture of criminal organization also shapes their definition, perception, and administration of justice, which is distinct from the mainstream society.

By examining the operation of triad territories, promotion system, and the allocation of resources and profits of triad societies, the current study aims to provide a better account of triad structure and subculture, which in return reveals how they define, perceive and administer “justice” and respond to “injustice” in Chinese underworld.


Sharon Ingrid Kwok is Career Development Fellow of the School of Social Sciences and Psychology at Western Sydney University. She received her Bachelor of Arts (Social Policy and Criminology) from University of Hull in 2001, Master of Science (Criminal Justice Policy) from the London School of Economics in 2004, and PhD (Criminology) from City University of Hong Kong in 2017. She has published a number of refereed papers in the British Journal of Criminology, International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, Trends in Organized Crime, and so on. Her research interests are Chinese organized crime, triad society, and drug treatment programs.

Recent Comments
    Recent Comments