Hong Kong police said on Wednesday they have arrested 6,400 people, including children, and seized millions of dollars in cash and contraband after a three-month operation targeting cross-border criminal activity.

Hong Kong Police Force. File photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

The operation involved more than 83,000 police officers and was coordinated with authorities in neighbouring casino hub Macau and the Chinese province of Guangdong, police said in a press release.

Around 3,100 sites were searched since June 12 and police cracked down on “gambling dens, vice establishments, unlicensed bars, and loan-sharks companies”, arresting 4,115 men and 2,285 women aged between 10 and 85, without specifying how many were minors.

Police said the ‘THUNDERBOLT 2023’ intelligence operation targeted the “illegal activities of triad societies and organised crime syndicates”.

Officers seized drugs valued at more than HK$350 million (US$45 million) and US$1.5 million in cash, along with illegal items such as weapons and gambling tools.

The people were arrested on suspicion of “triad-related or organised crimes” such as criminal damage, blackmail, drug trafficking, money laundering, and offences linked to operating gambling dens and brothels.

Hong Kong police said it would continue to swap intelligence with authorities in mainland China and Macau to quash organised crime.

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