Chinese communities across the world could face a rise in crime as a result of the exodus from Hong Kong in the run-up to 1997, a leading Hong Kong Queen's Counsel has predicted.
Peter Nguyen QC said that Chinese communities are growing as a result of the movement out of Hong Kong.
"This creates law enforcement problems in those countries and new opportunities for crime. In view of the difficulties of policing ethnic minorities, there are easy pickings for criminals," he said.
Nguyen said that for these reasons "some triads and other criminals will wish to leave Hong Kong before 1997". But he said that they would face greater difficulties in doing so than law-abiding citizens because of poor education, insufficient funds and their lack of connections overseas.
However, he said that while some triads may choose to enter other countries and live underground, most would remain and take advantage of the lucrative opportunities in the territory and in South China.
Meanwhile South East Asia's greatest source of organised crime is drug trafficking. Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Yunnan in China are the largest opium source in the world, a paper by Chan Seng Onn and Bala Reddy claimed. However, the introduction of tough legislation has enabled Singapore to curb organised crime.