Most of the people in the dens we raided didn’t speak a word of English. Sometimes eight or twelve people share a room. The apartment reeked, which alarmed some of the locals. Getting involved in illicit activities. Prostitution, gambling, drug dealing. Sometimes even counterfeiting money. They would have professional printers all over the place and tapped electricity from neighboring apartments creating a serious fire hazard.
The thing that stuck with me most was when we arrested two Chinese guys who grew up in the States. They rented an apartment in a complex on Donny Wong. A low-income neighborhood, but still very lively with families with kids living in the complex. And they created what looked like a prison. The girl was holed up there for months. There was a shitter, a mattress. She told us how every night they’d inject heroin to put her to sleep.
To my surprise, she wasn’t a prostitute. These guys ran a scam and used her as bait. They’d attract dudes at bars and she’d take them to an apartment. This is where the two guys would jump him and rip him off his money.
The girl called Ling-ling migrated here illegally from China via Brazil and Mexico. She said she wanted to be a model, but she was baited by Snakeheads and when she got here and had no means to pay off her debt she was sold off to these dudes to work for her money. This girl was seriously messed up. Didn’t feel any regrets and when we took her in she’d stand up to these dudes who use her as a tool to make money.
Super Wok Explosion is a unique animated web-series about Chinese organized crime. The project is funded entirely by its audience. On this website, animator Tony Cheuk likes to share information about Asian organized crime—and world-building of the universe of the series, Chinese tongs and triads. If you're interested in learning more about the project, you can click here.