cover image Warlords of Crime: Chinese Secret Societies--The New Mafia

Warlords of Crime: Chinese Secret Societies--The New Mafia

Gerald Posner. McGraw-Hill Companies, $18.95 (289pp) ISBN 978-0-07-050600-8

China's Triad societies were established in the late 17th century to combat the oppression of the Manchu dynasty, and gradually branched out into criminal activities to finance their underground war. When the European powers turned to encouraging the opium trade in the 19th century to underwrite their colonial expansion, the Triads became involved. Now based in Hong Kong, these secret societies are the most powerful criminal syndicates extant, according to Posner (coauthor of Mengele ), larger and more dangerous than the Mafia. Posner interviewed a Triad leader, visited opium dens in Asia and New York and journeyed to the Golden Triangle, where most of the world's heroin is produced. This book should be of special concern to Americans because, with the impending takeover of Hong Kong by the People's Republic of China in 1997, the Triads are looking for a new, non-Communist base of operation and are considering the U.S., the author cautions. Photos not seen by PW. (October)