An alleged triad leader known as “Shanghai Boy” was arrested as he returned to Hong Kong on Sunday after more than two years on the run, The South China Morning Post reports.
Kwok Wing-hung – reputedly former boss of the Wo Shing Wo triad society – was detained at Hong Kong airport after arriving on a flight from Bangkok, Thailand. The reputed gangster, who once ran VIP rooms in Macau, was charged with conspiracy to wound, criminal damage, and criminal libel, on top of existing money laundering charges from which he fled in 2018.
Distinctive in his trademark 1970s sunglasses and Bruce Lee-style bowl haircut, Kwok told authorities he had returned to Hong Kong because he had become ill with COVID-19 in Europe and did not want to die there. Despite his nickname, Kwok is Hong Kong born and bred.
Authorities said Kwok tested negative for coronavirus after his detention, but claims he has lost his sense of taste and smell.
Kwok was arrested in 2017 on suspicion of laundering over HK$100 million ($13 million) from illegal bookmaking through four local bank accounts from January 2007 to July 2012.
He was released on bail, but absconded, later notifying police that he was in Thailand, where he had suffered a stroke.
In reality, according to The Hong Kong Standard, he was “scurrying” across several European countries, bragging about chasing women. In Europe, he lived a life of luxury, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars each month on bodyguards and staying in five-star hotels.
The Wo Shing Wo is the oldest triad society in Hong Kong, and it controls the drugs trade in the Chinese special administrative region. Its leaders, or “Dragonheads,” are elected every two years.
It’s believed Kwok was a Dragonhead from 1998 to 2000. But he became widely known to the public in 2012 after he was seen attending a private banquet with aides of politician Leung Chun-ying, who shortly afterwards was elected chief executive, the top position in Hong Kong’s government.
In August that year, Kwok was among 130 people arrested in a crackdown on two triad gangs suspected of laundering HK$300 million ($39 million). He was jailed until 2015.
Kwok was believed to be a partner in VIP rooms at both MGM Macau and Melco Crown’s City of Dreams. But those operations folded during Macau’s economic downturn of 2015.
According to 2018 court documents, he owes $6.4 million to Star Cruise Services, a company that operates gambling cruises.