“Macau Ronnie” Vernon Song is the current ‘Dragon Head’ of the Wo On Lok in Macau following a violent coup d’etat several years ago in which his faction liquidated and paralyzed rivaling Wo On Lok wings.
Vernon Song (birth name unknown) was born in Foshan to a poor family of fish farmers. A generally happy youth he played in the hills and the farmlands, but there were times Vernon’s family was so struck by poverty they couldn’t pay the school fees.
Mobilized to work in the factories, his family moved to the city where his parents worked as labourers at a steel factory. Vernon spent much of his time in the streets and was ordered by his parents to work to help support the family, working as much as ten hours a day at sweatshops and glass factories.
A life in poverty and little attention from his parents as well as a bad education set Vernon up for a life of crime. He put up with local street gangs and brawled in the streets. Following a lay-off at the steel mills, aged seventeen, Vernon’s parents ended up moving to Macau to look for work.
In his twenties, Vernon was already a local triad boss. Like a nocturnal animal he’d wake up at six in the evening and walk to the Parisian where young gangbangers would crowd around him asking for work. Vernon extorted the local shopkeepers and made sure no business went unseen by the Wo On Lok.
The Boiler Room
With the money Vernon collected, he opened up a laundry business in Gongbei and extorted local businesses to expand his network. Vernon knew local competitors would complain to the local powers, but Vernon made sure work of them and preemptively attacked anybody who complained. This got Vernon a notorious reputation among local businesses.
In his late twenties, Vernon met casino security expert “Muslim Joe” who would forever remain his right-hand. Before reaching his mid-thirties, Vernon did laundry work for all the local casinos. When the Golden Triangle became booming during the Vietnam War, Vernon invested the money he made into a seaboat and smuggled drugs and refugees to Macau.
Rise to Power
During the Vietnam War, Vernon became a well-known name in the ranks of the Wo On Lok. He played his cards right and remained an influential figure in the Golden Triangle opioid trade, networking with French high-rollers and American soldiers who profited off the opioid trade.
Using his influence, Vernon expanded his influence to Macau where he turned against the casino tycoons. Slowly but surely, in the early days of Macau becoming the casino and money-laundering capital of the world, he controlled a large portion of casino scams and prostitution. Muslim Joe became an important figure in debt collection. And by the early 2000’s, Macau Ronnie had set up shop in the United States where he would ship exotic cars to Chinese hot shots mesmerized by Western luxury goods.
A prominent name in the Wo On Lok’s “Black Twilight” fraternity, the leadership ended up turning against Vernon because they were afraid of his exponentially growing influence. A gang war ensued, but quickly and decisively Vernon managed to take out the leadership and arranged his cards in such a way that he could take over.
Now the period has ensued where Vernon must root his faction from subversive powers who turn against him.
Macau Ronnie is considered a progressive power within the Wo On Lok. He’s always had a knack for speculating about the future and transnational trends both politically and technologically, and this has always provided him an edge over his competitors, experimenting with new gigs and entering new markets.
Triads circle a lot around tradition and maintaining a status quo. But whereas many of Macau Ronnie’s con-colleagues would struggle for power in the international drug trade, money laundering and prostitution, Macau Ronnie stimulated the development of new tools using technological break-throughs.
Macau Ronnie’s push for progress has gained him fervent opponents but also many loyalists that helped him take control of his faction. With the expanding influence of China over Hong Kong and Macau, the future of what a Triad should look like was uncertain. Loyalists strongly believed in the idea of a ‘new dawn’, believing that the Wo On Lok’s transformation would give them an edge over the authorities and new markets new entrants could massively profit from. Opponents were afraid Macau Ronnie’s transformations would pollute the idea of a triad and lead to its eventual collapse.
Macau Ronnie’s vision has turned the Black Twilight fraternity into the Wo On Lok’s progressive branch, already having moved away from a lot of physical crimes such as grand theft and getting most of their income from white collar crimes. Now, their branch is making a push into the digital shadow economy, turning the Wo On Lok from muscular enforcers and gunslingers into a world of the shady elite, corporate business people, corporate espionage and hackers.