:For other meanings of Triad, see Triad (disambiguation)
Triad () is a collective term that describes many branches of an underground society and organizations based in Hong Kong and also operating in Macau, Taiwan, mainland China, and countries with significant Chinese populations such as Malaysia, Singapore and also Chinatowns in Europe, North America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
There are more than 57 triad groups that are active in Hong Kong; some of them are no more than small, local street gangs. The larger groups, including the Sun Yee On, Wo Shing Wo and 14K, are syndicates of sophisticated criminals, mirror images of such similar western empires of crime as the mafia.
Their activities include drug trafficking, money laundering, illegal gambling, prostitution, car theft and other forms of racketeering. A major source of triad income today comes from the counterfeiting intellectual property such as computer software, music CDs and movie VCDs/DVDs. They also trade in bootleg tobacco products.