Former Hong Kong Triad Boss With Gambling Ties Arrested After Years on the Run

  • “Shanghai Boy” Kwok Wing-hung had been away for over two years before returning to HK
  • His arrest in 2017 concerned alleged money laundering involving illegal bookmaking proceeds
  • Police apprehended him at a Hong Kong airport on Sunday and released him on bail on Tuesday
  • Kwok had failed to report to police in 2018 in connection with the money laundering allegations
  • He is reportedly a former HK triad boss and Macau VIP gambling rooms business partner
handcuffed man in suit photographed from the back
Hong Kong police arrested an alleged ex-triad boss with gambling ties on his return to Hong Kong after spending more than two years on the run. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Wanted man in custody

Police arrested alleged ex-triad boss “Shanghai Boy” Kwok Wing-hung on his return to Hong Kong. The former Macau VIP gaming room partner had been on the run for more than two years following his 2017 arrest after he allegedly laundered over HK$100m (US$12.9m) of illegal bookmaking revenue between 2007 and 2012.

allegedly laundered over HK$100m (US$12.9m) of illegal bookmaking revenue

Kwok reportedly returned to Hong Kong last weekend as he did not wish to “die in Europe”. He contracted and recovered from COVID-19 while in Europe. Police released the 62-year-old on bail on Tuesday, following his Sunday arrest at the Chep Lap Kok international airport. Officers were expecting his arrival after the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau received intelligence about his return.

The charges he now faces include suspicion of conspiracy to wound, criminal libel, and criminal damage. As per COVID-19 rules, the former gangster will first have to quarantine in a hotel for 12 days before reporting back to police in January.

On the loose for over two years

Police have been after Kwok ever since he did not report to the Western police station in April 2018 in connection with his 2017 arrest. Authorities at the time had released Kwok on bail of HK$200,000 (US$25,803) before he absconded. He later notified police that he was in Thailand and had suffered a stroke.

Kwok is said to have been living in luxury in various European countries before his return to Hong Kong. He reportedly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars every month on bodyguards and stayed in five-star hotels.

While in Italy, Kwok reportedly contracted COVID-19. Although he recovered from the virus, he apparently no longer has a sense of taste.

Links to organized crime

Kwok initially made a living in the 1990s by selling pirated DVDs, building the business into thousands of stalls. He was also allegedly the former boss of the Wo Shing Wo triad society between 1998 and 2000, a notorious organized crime group in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong. 

He was also a partner in VIP gambling room operations at Macau casinos such as Melco Crown’s City of Dreams and the MGM Macau. The businesses closed down as a result of the Asian gambling hub’s economic downturn in 2015.

As per court documents from 2018, Kwok owes US$6.4m to Star Cruise Services, a gambling cruise operator. He borrowed the money in 2015 from the Genting Hong Kong-owned company.