Cover image for The dragon syndicates : the global phenomenon of the triads
The dragon syndicates : the global phenomenon of the triads
Booth, Martin.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Carroll & Graf, 2000.

Physical Description:
ix, 358 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6441 .B5895 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
HV6441 .B5895 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



What began more than 2,000 years ago in China has culminated in potentially the greatest criminal threat the world has ever known. From the Booker Prize nominee comes a history of the ancient Chinese secret society that has staked its claim in every major city of the modern world. of photos.

Author Notes

Martin Booth (September 7, 1944-February 12, 2004) was a prolific British novelist and poet. He also worked as a teacher and screenwriter, and was the founder of the Sceptre Press. Booth died after an 18-month struggle with cancer in 2004.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In an indisputably important and extravagantly detailed account, Booth (author of the lauded Opium: A History and Booker-nominated author of the novel The Industry of Souls) examines the history of the notorious international crime groups known as the Chinese Triads, whose roots lie in ancient secret societies with traditions of religious and political dissentÄparticularly in the Hung Society of the 18th century. As Chinese emigrants spread around the world, so did the societies, metamorphosing into today's international terrorist networks. The Triads have an oddly checkered history of both criminal activity and patriotism (they supported Chiang Kai-shek and assisted the U.S. during the Vietnam War). Booth's narrative details the dizzying array of their criminal actionsÄincluding kidnapping, credit-card fraud, software piracy, international prostitution, illegal immigrant smuggling and Internet pornographyÄas it explores the lives and crooked partnerships of such legendary Triad power brokers as the Green Gang's far-rightist Big-eared Du, and the 14K, which maximized the mid-century heroin market. Booth also documents the Triads' infiltration of the business and social mainstream and their current exploitation of the Hong Kong film industry. He deserves commendation for addressing this risky subject (these groups are not above murdering journalists) and for shredding the Triads' centuries-strong web of ritual and patriotism. 16 pages b&w photos not seen by PW. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This colorful popular history of Chinese secret criminal societies, which the author (Opium: A History) collectively labels the Triads, cuts a broad swath through Chinese history from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) to the present and from the China mainland to the far-flung communities of the Chinese diaspora. The best chapters of the book focus on Hong Kong, where a network of criminal syndicates, held together by blood oaths, patronage, and avarice, has long dominated vice, gambling, and prostitution and engages in extortion, racketeering, kidnapping, counterfeiting, and smuggling. The historical chapters are less convincing. Booth sweeps a large variety of secret societies into his catchall category of the Triads and reduces modern Chinese history to a vast and convoluted criminal conspiracy. Nevertheless, the cast of bizarre characters, the often-gory details of Triad crimes, and the intersection of the criminal and political worlds make for fascinating reading. For larger public and academic libraries.DSteven I. Levine, Univ. of Montana, Missoula (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.