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Triads or Try-hards: Are These "Lost Phone Photos" of Chinese Gangsters for Real?

Are these Chinese gangsters for real?

Yesterday these photos washed up on Reddit, which is where I imagine the photos on all the phones I've lost would have washed up if they weren't just pictures of pizza and bad action shots of dogs taken from 300 yards away. These photos tell of a life far more interesting than my own – but is it a real life? Did someone really just find a phone belonging to a slightly overweight and effeminate Triad, or are they just bogus stills from some DIY Chinese gangster movie? Let's decide.


Sure, this looks like a lot of notes and the Chinese economy is strong. But do you know how much this actually is? Knowing the fickle nature of foreign currency, it's probably not even enough for an eighth.

That's a nice tea set, and real Gs do drink tea. Kudos, too, for eschewing the Al Pacino Scarface posters so beloved of wannabe gangsters on Cribs and Bebo for something more floral and less desperately macho.

But is our man getting a little too comfortable? To quote fictional Sopranos gangster Johnny Sack: "A boss doesn't wear shorts." God knows what Mr. Sack would make of those flip-flops, which, combined with the crossed legs and the sofa, make him look like a senior diplomat who's waiting for a rent boy to turn up to his suite in Claridge's. TRIAD 0 - 2 TRY-HARD

What is this, some kind of steampunk cover for a Nokia 3310? It certainly doesn't have enough crystals on it, whatever it is. TRIAD 0 - 3 TRY-HARD

You can't argue with upholstery like that. It's just legit. TRIAD 1 - 3 TRY-HARD

I appreciate the hanging gut and Speedos combo, it's the same look Ray Winstone had going on in Sexy Beast, and to a lesser extent Tamer Hassan in The Business. Real gangsters don't have to tone up when they've got dozens of underlings that look like tanks and they do all their fucking in whorehouses (for free, because they own them). That Costa Del Crime swag is always strong. TRIAD 2 - 3 TRY-HARD


Yeah, it's a Porsche, but it's the wrong type. Carreras are driven by accountants who want people to know they're in the upper tax bracket. A Boxster on the other hand, could work. TRIAD 2 - 4 TRY-HARD

This must be some kind of hood version of Buckaroo. He looks sturdy though, I think you could probably get the saddle on him and he'd be OK. TRIAD 2 - 5 TRY-HARD

Wait, who are the goons? They look like those guys who pretend to BBM in the smoking areas of clubs to hide the fact they're not there with anyone else. Also: real Gs don't go around creating evidence for the police to find. TRIAD 2 - 6 TRY-HARD

Ah, pull my finger, a classic. I've obviously got no idea what that prankster had for breakfast, but the man on the floor really doesn't want to smell it. TRIAD 2 - 7 TRY-HARD

Ever wonder who actually shops at those places on Oxford Street that sell Union Jack paraphernalia, comedy-sized bongs, and fake leather jackets? It's guys like him. And it's also guys like him who take courses at the unauthorized "universities" above those fake leather jacket shops. So Imma be kind, and say he just got back from being ripped off in London, and now his less lovable, less foolish older cousin–who also happens to be in the Triads–is about to cheer him up with a riotous night out. TRIAD 3 - 7 TRY-HARD

Some fantastic stripe coordination here, you've got to have a lot of dollar to be able to match your jacket to your car. TRIAD 4 - 7 TRY-HARD


Did this guy have film to use up or something? We get it, you've got a car. TRIAD 4 - 8 TRY-HARD

What the fuck is this, fucking Lolbears? Some real soft shit for a gangster to be doing. TRIAD 4 - 9 TRY-HARD

Again, flip-flops, but this time they're pink. You couldn't make it up. Go stomping around in these in Brighton and you'd catch some stick, so forget about wearing them to a tense car park meet with the Yakuza. Get some Air Max 90s, you big girl's blouse. TRIAD 4 - 10 TRY-HARD

OK, it's all beginning to make sense now, these guys must have mugged David Furnish and are trying to sell the loot online. TRIAD 5 - 10 TRY-HARD

It's a resounding win for the try-hard category. These guys might love the clothes, the cash, the flagrant materialism, and the lame body art, but to paraphrase The Wire, their hearts ain't in the game (and if there's anyone who's qualified to measure a would-be gangster's authenticity, it's someone who's still quoting Dennis "Cutty" Wise in 2012).

Follow Clive on Twitter: @thugclive