The history of the Triads traces back to 1769 in mainland China. There were secret societies formed to overthrow the Qing dynasty. One of these societies was known as the “Heaven & Earth Society” or the Tiandihui. It developed over the years into a group used for political assassination and espionage. Throughout their growth period they took the visage of a great Chinese General known as “Guan Yu” and used it in various logos as a secret signal to other members.
As the world became more modernized, the Triads had to adapt to their surroundings. As they grew in size and complexity, many members became ambitious and betrayed their leadership in the pursuit of power and money. The term “Triad” no longer referred to an individual organisation and was used to describe the rapidly growing number of criminal societies spreading throughout South-East Asia.
As World War Two kicked off and Japan occupied most of China and the Pacific, these societies were largely snuffed out as many of the members went off to fight in the war or joined local resistance movements. As the conflict came to an end and the Japanese were forced out of China, the previously patriotic and rebellious members of these societies returned battle-hardened and blunt. Described by many as “reckless young thugs”, this is where the text written on the Los Santos Triads’ button-up comes from. Originally meant to disparage and insult the members, the saying eventually gave the members of these groups confidence and pride.
Slowly but surely the various Triads would grow in power throughout all of Asia during the 20th Century. This was until Chairman Mao Zedong took power in mainland China and began his “Great Leap Forward”. His iron grip forced most, if not all Triad operations overseas into British-Occupied Hong Kong.
At the height of their membership, it was said that one in four people living in Hong Kong were affiliated with the Triads, and that everyone knew a member, even if they weren’t aware of the fact.
The story of the Los Santos Triads begins in the 90’s, running packages from store-to-store, Kai Lung spent his childhood working for the “Sun Yee On” already a 49er at the age of 15. His Father and Grandfather made sure of this, having him around from a young age to learn the ropes of what was becoming the family business.
Kai Lung spent the next twenty years in service to the Sun Yee On. He made a name for himself with his jovial attitude but brutal acts of violence. He eventually worked his way up to the position of “Red Pole” and controlled his own area of the city. However, tragedy would eventually strike when in 2015 his violent actions caught up with him and his house was firebombed and barricaded from the outside.
His house was turned to ashes, his family was unable to escape the blaze. Devastated he let his emotions run rampant and without much forethought, he took a strike force and rampaged through the streets of Hong Kong looking for answers. After 48 hours, Kai and those loyal to him had killed hundreds, innocent or not. They raided houses and crossed boundaries that had been set for years amongst rival Triads. Kai would never find out who was responsible for destroying his family.
The group quickly found themselves referred to as 龙手. After the rampage they were numbered no more than thirty. They turned themselves in and were brought before the leadership of the Sun Yee On. At the behest of the Deputy Dragon Head, Kai’s Grandfather, half were chosen to die, and the other half would be banished overseas with Kai.
Kai eventually picked out his chosen few, Trent Wuhan, Ridge Nguyen, Jonah Zhao, Pablo Xi Wong, Kevin Xu, Mikey Lung, Kylo Zhong, William (Bill) Wong, Tommy Aizen, Jay Ming, Tyler Jun, Plum Lee, Kai Daiyu Lung, Tekashi Lung & Jiang Jun. They were all spared and sent with him to Los Santos.
The group spent years as a low-level fence, pawning off stolen goods and acquiring small arms and drugs. Eventually they went on to recruit new members from Little Seoul all the while dreaming of a bigger and brighter future for themselves. They invested a lot of time and money into the community around them, and that same community hasn’t seen or heard anything whenever the police come around.
As they earned more credit, the Triads were propped up by the Vagos, a rough Hispanic gang from Jamestown. Unfortunately, due to internal issues and struggles for power, the Vagos imploded. Fortunately for the Los Santos Triads, they recruited the Masvidal brothers who were out of a home and hungry for work.
As the Los Santos Triads’ influence and power grew, alliances were made, borders were drawn, and what started as a few who were loyal due to honor and oaths that they’d sworn became a group who truly believed in what they were doing, all the while getting filthy rich as they did so.