The 14K (十四K) is a triad group based in Hong Kong but active internationally. It is the second largest Triad group in the world with around 25,000 members split into thirty subgroups. They are the main rival of the Sun Yee On, which is the largest Triad.
The 14K is responsible for large-scale drug trafficking around the world, most of it heroin and opium from China or Southeast Asia. This is their primary business in terms of generating income, but they are also involved in illegal gambling, loan sharking, money laundering, murder, arms trafficking, prostitution, human trafficking, extortion, counterfeiting and, to a lesser extent, home invasion robberies.
The 14K was formed by Kuomintang Lieutenant-General Kot Siu-wong in Guangzhou, China in 1945 as an anti-Communist action group. However, the group relocated to Hong Kong in 1949 when the Kuomintang fled from the Communists following the Chinese Civil War. Originally there were fourteen members who were part of the Kuomintang, hence the name 14K. However, some say that 14 stands for the road number of a former headquarters and K stands for Kowloon.
Compared with other triad societies, the 14K is one of the largest and most violent Hong Kong-based triad societies, and its members appear to be more loosely connected. 14K factional violence is actually out of control because no dragonhead is able to govern all factions of 14K worldwide.
While Hong Kong's 14K triad gang dominates its traditional areas of operation and has expanded far beyond the former British colony, its focus remains Sino-centric. Hong Kong triads, including the 14K, have also expanded their activities in mainland China; a key motivation for members to cross into China is to avoid police security and anti-gang crackdowns in Hong Kong.
During the 1990s it was the "largest Triad in the world". In 1997, there were a number of gang-related attacks that left 14 people dead. Under Wan Kuok-koi (nicknamed "Broken Tooth Koi", 崩牙駒), the 14K was being challenged by the smaller Shui Fong Triad. The next year, a gunman believed to be connected to the local 14K killed a Portuguese national and wounded another at a sidewalk café in Macau. In 1999, a Portuguese court convicted 45-year-old mob boss Broken Tooth Koi on various criminal charges and sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment. His 14K gang was suspected of drive-by shootings, car bombings and attempted assassinations. Seven of his associates received lesser sentences. Since the crackdown in Macau, the 14K triad resurfaced in various cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago in the United States; Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto in Canada; Sydney in Australia; and also the UK.
In response to the massive publicity generated by Broken Tooth Koi, the 14K dramatically lowered its public profile. Meanwhile, loan sharking and money laundering continue to be the primary sources of revenue for the 14K in North America.
In August 2008, the 14K was allegedly involved in a high-profile kidnapping of a Chinese family in New Zealand near Papatoetoe, Auckland. The plan was to demand a ransom, but they were found before the money was paid.