Securitizing the Colour Revolution : Assessing the Political Role of Triads in Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1521–1539
Number of pages19
Journal / PublicationBritish Journal of Criminology
Issue number6
Online published30 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021



In Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement, the use of Chinese triads to attack protestors has attracted international attention, forcing the regime to constrain further acts of grand illegitimate violence. Research suggests that triads were used as ‘thugs-for-hire’ by the regime to achieve political ends. The present study aims to examine why the triads were hired and what their specific roles and motivations were. It concludes that triads acted as non-state securitization actors, agent provocateurs or extralegal protectors depending on several factors, such as financial incentives, being stakeholders in occupied sites, business interests in mainland China and individuals’ political ideology. It suggests that triads were used as vigilantes against the threats of Western-instigated Color Revolution and hybrid warfare targeting China.

Research Area(s)

  • triad society, Umbrella Movement, securitization, thugs-for-hire, extralegal protection, Hong Kong

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