Led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bresler contends, American law enforcement agencies (unlike the British) accept...



Led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bresler contends, American law enforcement agencies (unlike the British) accept the existence of Triad secret societies and believe that the 1980s will establish Chinese criminals as the biggest heroin traffickers in the States. It's a grim, sordid story he's uncovered, whatever the extent of the trade. The major heroin supply is from the Golden Triangle in Burma and Indochina; Triad dealers peddle heroin exclusively--no pot, no LSD. Modes of smuggling include the murder, gutting, and stuffing of babies with dope, and the swallowing of condoms linked like stuffed sausages. Originally freedom fighters (who fought in the Opium Wars against the British), the Triads went bad at the turn of the century. In the interim, Bresler maintains, silent Triad-tied members of the heroin trade have infiltrated the Hong Kong police and now exercise ""surveillance"" over their criminal comrades. But Hong Kong's official police view poohpoohs Triad activity. Bresler's digging in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Hong Kong uncovers other problems, other ironies. Legitimate Chinese businessmen (Triads are universally Chinese) include heroin trafficking as one among many commercial operations. The CIA itself backed the drug-running Thai Nationalist armies whose activities resulted in the US Army's explosive heroin problem in 1971. The UN tries to switch 1000 Golden Triangle villages from their staple poppy crop to coffee beans, while opposing armies work hand-in-glove to keep the drug trade moving. Internationally, Bresler charges, the Triad movement is ""bigger and crueler and better organized, more sinister actually, than the Mafia has ever dreamed about""--with Holland the heroin capital of Europe and Singaporeans in control. Proceeding country by country, Bresler notes, for instance, that while long-established Swedish restaurants were going out of business, Chinese restaurants mushroomed and Sweden's narcotics death-rate soared. The US has five Tongs today, he alleges, the biggest a coast-to-coast secret society, with headquarters in New York and San Francisco; lesser Triads work out of Phoenix, Los Angeles, Fresno, Tucson, Denver, and Washington, D.C., among others; all masquerade as benevolent associations, while extracting dues from Chinese small businesses, especially gambling and restaurants. As evidence and warning, Bresler cites violent recent episodes in New York's Chinatown--including drug-trafficking with neighboring Little Italy and the use of youth gangs as enforcers. A first, appalling look at a miserable business, believe it all or not.

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 1980


Page Count: -

Publisher: Stein & Day

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1980