U.S. designates Chinese organized crime leader in anti-corruption sanctions

Washington (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday slapped sanctions on Wan Kuok Kai, the leader of China’s 14K Triad organized crime group and a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the U.S. Treasury said.

The sanctions also apply to three entities headed by Wan, who is also known as “Broken Tooth,” the Treasury Department said in a statement.

The U.S. government also designated two other individuals from Liberia and the Kyrgyz Republic to face sanctions.

Treasury said it targeted Wan for his activities at the helm of the 14K Triad, saying the Chinese organized crime group was engaged in drug trafficking, illegal gambling, racketeering, human trafficking, and a range of other criminal activities.

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFCA) also designated three entities owned or controlled by Wan – the World Hongmen History and Culture Association, based in Cambodia; Dongmei Group, based in Hong Kong; and the Palau China Hung-Mun Cultural Association, based in Palau.

It said the World Hongmen group had managed to co-opt elite figures in Malaysia and Cambodia, continuing a “pattern of overseas Chinese actors trying to paper over illegal criminal activities by framing their actions in terms of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)” and other major initiatives of the CCP.

Treasury also designated Raimbek Matraimov, a former deputy of the Kyrgyz Customs Service, who it said had been involved in a customs scheme in which at least $700 million was laundered from the Kyrgyz Republic.

In Africa, it designated Harry Varney Gboto-Nambi Sherman, now a prominent lawyer, Liberian senator and head of the Liberian Senate Judiciary Committee, who was indicted but later acquitted for his role in a bribery scheme in Liberia.