HSU AND THE WO HOP TO TRIAD
CATEGORY: Who is Mr. Hsu?
Before Norman Hsu became a household name and right around the time
his Ponzi scheme that would eventually lead to his being sentenced to
3 years in prison began to fall apart, he found himself in fear for
his life in the back seat of a car with Raymond Kwok Chow, alias
“Shrimp Boy,” and a known lieutenant of perhaps the most powerful
gang leader in Chinatown; Peter Chong.
Chong came to American in 1989 from Hong Kong with the sole purpose
of establishing an American off shoot of the powerful Wo Hop To Triad
in which he was one of the major figures. Upon his arrival, he sought
out Chow who headed up the Hop Sing gang and was eager to attach
himself to one of the major criminal organizations in China. Chow’s
gang had been chased out of Chinatown a decade earlier when the Wah
Sing gang, run by Danny “Ah Pai” Wong, claimed the streets for
On the day that Norman Hsu was either being kidnapped or, if you
believe Chow, was in the car as the result of a call from Hsu for
help because extortionists were after him, the Foster City police
stopped the vehicle for running a red light. The story Hsu told the
police is interesting:
Hsu told police he had been kidnapped.
> “There was a 12 hour ordeal where there was discussions, arguments.
> Mr. Hsu claims he was assaulted several times and threatened,” said
> Capt. Matt Martell, Foster City Police Department.
> Hsu told police he had business dealings with Chow and there was a
> dispute over money.
> “And what that dollar amount was, different dollar amounts ranged
> between $300,000 and a $1 million worth of claims,” said Capt.
> Martell Chow says Hsu lied, and claims it was Hsu who called him
> for help that night because he owed people money.
> “I met him because he was in trouble, and at that time, I helping
> him out a lot,” said Chow. “The way he told me, I mean, he being
> extortion, he being a lot of people tried to hurt him.
Chow and the others were arrested, but charges were later dropped
when Hsu became uncooperative with prosecutors.
What was Hsu doing borrowing money from Chow? What was a seemingly
respectable businessman doing business with Wo Hop To?
Wo Hop To, according to the US government, is one of several dozen
loose knit Asian criminal enterprises investigated by the FBI in the
United States. In Hong Kong, where the Triads are illegal but
nevertheless retain a high public profile and are very powerful, Wo
Hop To is known for its ties to gambling, prostitution, and most
notably, protection rackets. If Hsu was being pursued by investors
into the very Ponzi scheme that landed him in trouble, he could do no
better than seek out the protection of a powerful Triad gang.
Just what kind of “service” would Chow provide? Hsu evidently
approached Chow himself:
> This was when Chow says he met Norman Hsu. He says Hsu dabbled in
> clothing, import and export and real estate. He adds Hsu was also
> in trouble.
> “I guess he into a lot of financial problem back then and I loaned
> him some money,” said Chow. “And I help him with my knowledge and
> with my strength. That’s all there is.”
Helping Hsu with his “strength” could very well mean that Hsu asked
Chow to intimidate investors into not going to the police about his
Ponzi scheme. We saw above what a little intimidation could do when
Hsu refused to cooperate into the investigation in his own kidnapping.
And if the Triad loaned $1 million to Hsu (reading this long profile
of Chow makes it clear he personally did not have that kind of
money), what were they expecting in return? If Hsu needed it to pay
off investors in order to keep the Ponzi scheme running a little
longer, surely the Triad would want a piece of any future action Hsu
was able to drum up as far as new investors. In short, it appears
that Hsu had gone into business with the most powerful Triad in the
United States and a gang that the FBI said rivaled the mafia in
So the “kidnapping” could be as Raymond Chow described it; they were
protecting Hsu from angry investors, some of whom may have been
trying to extort money from him in exchange for their not going to
police about Hsu’s con games.
What relevance does all this have to Hsu’s fundraising activities for
Either coincidentally or by design, following the fund raising
scandals of the 1990’s, the Chinese Communist party forbade the
Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) from engaging in any business
activities. Previously, the army seemed to have a piece of every
commercial pie and extracted profits in which they enriched
themselves and Chinese officials who were paid to turn the other way