A term used to describe many Chinese criminal organizations. They are the most well-known organized crime group in China, Hong Kong, and Macao. They originated in the anti-Manchu resistance in China. The term "triad" comes from the three dots which form part of the Chinese character for the Ming Emperor Hung Wu. The Triads began as "Men of Hung." They were both part of the political resistance of the Han Chinese to the Manchu dynasty, as well as outlaws who "Ta fu — chih p'in" (Hit the Rich and help the poor).
Both the Chinese Triads and the Italian Mafia and Camorra have existed at least since the early 1800s. The Triads spread all over the world and control much of the illegal and informal economy in overseas Chinese communities.
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