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This article is about the gang of waterbenders, earthbenders, and firebenders in Republic City. For other gangs, see Triads in the United Republic.

The Triple Threat Triad, also known as the Triple Threats, is the oldest and largest of the triads that operate in Republic City. The gang primarily consists of waterbenders, earthbenders, and firebenders, as opposed to the other single-element focused gangs, though the Triple Threats are also known to hire nonbenders and members who had their bending severed by Amon were allowed to remain in the group.

The triad was traditionally headquartered at the back of a restaurant near Central City Station. Downtown Republic City is considered to be their turf, though all of the city's triads are constantly involved in various territorial wars. This only intensified after the destruction of downtown during the invasion of the United Republic of Nations.[5] Members of the Triple Threats, such as Shady Shin, are known to solicit recruits at Central City Station.[4] The mobsters use their bending abilities to run a protection racket on the citizens of Republic City.[1]


Rise to power[]

Toza bribed

Shady Shin bribed Toza into throwing a pro-bending match.

The Triple Threat Triad is the oldest triad in Republic City.[6] Under the leadership of Lightning Bolt Zolt, it grew into an organized crime syndicate, soon becoming the most powerful bending triad in Republic City, infamous for extorting shopkeepers, stealing shipments, and blackmailing public figures.[4] By 167 AG,[7] the triad had also become involved in fixing pro-bending matches and illegal bets, bribing even respected pro-benders such as Toza.[8]

After the loss of their parents, Mako and Bolin joined the Triple Threat Triad to help fend for themselves in a newfound street life, doing what Mako described as "running some numbers". However, they eventually left the criminal organization in 167 AG.[2][7]

Confrontation with Avatar Korra[]

Triple Threats bully Chung

Members of the Triple Threats intimidated Mr. Chung to convince him to pay.

Three years later, Viper, Two Toed Ping, and Mushi made a routine visit to a phonograph shop to collect money from the owner, Mr. Chung. Chung informed them that business had been slow that week, and that he could not pay the fee that the gang demanded. Viper subsequently threatened the shopkeeper, claiming that the triad would no longer guarantee protection. Frightened, the owner offered a free phonograph to compensate for the money, but the gang did not accept. Rather, they destroyed the phonograph, and threatened him again.

When Korra intervened, the gangsters, unaware she was the Avatar, mocked her, and declared she was about to be put "in the hospital". In response, the Avatar returned the threat, and a fight ensued. After being easily defeated one by one, the Triad members attempted to escape in their car, only to have the vehicle flipped by Korra's earthbending. They were subsequently apprehended upon the arrival of the Metalbending Police Force.[1]

The Anti-bending Revolution[]

Captured Triple Threat Triad members

Several triad members were captured by Amon in order to have their bending taken away.

While preparing for a turf war, a triad recruiter, Shady Shin, managed to entice Bolin into working for the Triple Threats by offering him a stack of yuans. However, when the duo went back to the Triple Threat's headquarters, they, along with Lightning Bolt Zolt and two other bending members, were kidnapped by Equalists. They were all taken to an Equalist assembly, where Amon planned on using them as an example of what he was going to do to all the benders of the world: except for Bolin who managed to escape due to Mako and Korra's interference, the revolutionary leader stripped every present triad member of his bending, dealing a strong blow to the triads' might.[2] After the end of the Anti-bending Revolution, the members of the Triple Threat Triad who had their bending removed were among the few who did not have their abilities restored by Avatar Korra, due to their criminal activities.[9] After these events, Viper replaced Zolt as the triad's leader.[3]

Hired by Varrick[]

Triple Threats dealing with Mako and Asami

The Triple Threat Triad was hired by Mako and Asami Sato, only to betray them later for a better financial offer.

Six months after the end of the Anti-bending Revolution, the triad was approached by Mako and Asami, who sought their help on a sting operation outside the knowledge of the police. As payment for their services, Mako offered to try and convince Korra to restore Shady Shin's bending, while Asami offered Future Industries' newest vehicles. The Triple Threats agreed to the proposed terms, but after striking their deal with the two teenagers, the triad was approached by a man hired by Varrick, who said he would pay them to simply keep the duo busy while Future Industries was robbed of all its supplies. The triad accepted this new deal and proceeded to keep Mako and Asami occupied on the ship they had set up as a decoy. However, after Mako overheard Viper and Shady Shin discussing the revised deal, he and Asami escaped the ship in one of the attached speedboats. Two groups of triad members set off after them, but the youngsters were able to outmaneuver the mobsters and escape.[3]

The police later arrested and questioned some Triple Threat Triad members, who claimed that Mako aided them in raiding Future Industries' warehouse.[10]

Hundun's revenge[]

Equalists and Triple Threats at the spirit portal

The Triple Threats and Hundun's other allies arrived in the Spirit World to aid him against Avatar Korra.

Shortly after Harmonic Convergence, the Triple Threat Triad was hired by Hundun, who promised them large amounts of money for their service. Not caring for his ultimate goals, the criminals agreed to the terms. Their meeting was compromised by Korra, however, whereupon the mobsters quickly fled to let Hundun deal with the Avatar. The following day, the Triple Threats occupied the deserted Air Temple Island along with the Equalists who Hundun also had enlisted to his cause. When Avatar Korra arrived at the air temple, Viper and his men attempted to capture her, but they were defeated. Afterward, Hundun ordered the mobsters to come to the South Pole, where they confronted Korra again. When the triad and the Equalists could not stop the Avatar at the coast or in the mountains, they gathered their forces for a last battle in the Spirit World. After arriving, however, the Triple Threat Triad was attacked by Korra in the Avatar State, forcing them to flee in defeat.[11]

The rise and fall of Tokuga[]

Tokuga defeating Viper

Tokuga took advantage of the chaos following the destruction of downtown Republic City and the subsequent scattering of the triads to become the new leader of the Triple Threat Triad.

In 174 AG, as a result of Kuvira's failed invasion of the United Republic of Nations and the creation of the Republic City spirit portal, most of downtown was destroyed, including the triads' turf. All the triads scattered, enabling Tokuga to take advantage of the chaos by replacing Viper as leader of the Triple Threat Triad and recruiting members of the other triads; anyone who did not follow his lead was killed.[5][12] Several smaller crime groups like the Rising Flame Triad were forced to submit to his authority.[13]

The Triple Threat Triad later started a turf war with the Creeping Crystal Triad, desiring to usurp control over their streets. Although the Creeping Crystals initially managed to push the Triple Threats back, the tides turned in their favor the moment Tokuga entered the fight and quickly took out Jargala and her followers with chi-blocking. Right when he was about to finish her off, the police arrived and forced the fighters to scatter. Although most managed to escape, Two Toed Ping and Mushi were arrested. During Ping's interrogation, he accidentally gave up Tokuga's name and told the police how he had risen to power, placing Tokuga on the police's most wanted list.[5]

The Triple Threat Triad was later hired by Wonyong Keum to attack the airbenders guarding the spirit portal. Although they managed to push the airbenders back, they soon lost terrain when Team Avatar and several enraged spirits showed up. Despite the Triad being able to hold their own against the humans, they were no match for the spirits; Tokuga took the brunt of the spirits' rage when the dragon eel spirit, having turned dark, passed through him, resulting in the disfiguring of the right side of his body. Sounding the retreat, Tokuga and his men forced their way into Keum Enterprises' headquarters and threatened Keum, holding him responsible for Tokuga's mutilation. As compensation, the Triple Threats forcibly seized control of Keum Enterprises and all its assets.[5]

Tokuga's attack

Under Tokuga's leadership, the triad attempted to take over Republic City.

With the backing of Keum's wealth and influenced by his spiritual mutation, Tokuga decided that the old ways of the triads were no longer fitting. The Triple Threats would instead seize power in Republic City. After crushing dissent within the organization, Tokuga rallied the triad behind his plans. He moved to lure the police into an ambush, kidnapped Asami Sato, and seized a weakly defended depot outside the city. At the latter location, the triad took control of substantial Earth Empire weaponry including mecha suits. When Team Avatar threatened to intervene, the triad threatened to murder their hostages, namely Keum and Asami.[12] Having forced Avatar Korra to back down, Tokuga's force began to take over Republic City,[12] battling the police and rival triads. In the meantime, the triad began to outfit a stolen police airship with poison gas. With this asset, Tokuga believed himself to be able to take the entire city hostage. To build the device, he employed Asami and Keum, threatening them with death.[14]

However, Tokuga's secret hideout was raided by Team Avatar and the Creeping Crystal Triad, forcing the triad to start the airship before testing the poison gas system. Taking up position above the spirit portal, Tokuga openly threatened the city with death unless his demand for control was not met. However, the Triple Threats' operation was foiled by Asami who had adjusted the airship to pump the poison gas into the cockpit instead of releasing it. Most of the airship's triad crew was knocked out, but Tokuga was unaffected due to his transformation. He consequently battled Asami and Korra who boarded the airship amid the chaos. As the gas leaked to the outside, the Sato heiress managed to steer the airship into the spirit portal to protect Republic City. The airship crashed in the Spirit World, and most Triple Threats on board were arrested by Korra and her comrades. However, Tokuga escaped;[14] with his disappearance, the Triple Threats considered the position of triad boss as being vacant.[15]

The Triple Threats were left in disarray after the failed rebellion, allowing subordinate crime groups like the Rising Flame Triad to regain their freedom.[13][15][16] Leaderless and weakened, the Triple Threats subsequently attempted to maintain their remaining power as well as they could.[15][16] To shore up their struggling reputation, some triad members tried to intimidate the Wandering Mask Troupe after they performed a parody of Tokuga's rebellion called The Spirit and the Triad.[15][17] The Triple Threats were also one of many crime groups that tried to blackmail the influential information broker Gantulga.[16]


Shady Shin and Bolin

Shady Shin, a triad recruiter, attempted to hire Bolin as "extra muscle" for a turf war.

The Triple Threat Triad is based upon an autocratic leadership, since the boss of the triad has complete control over all actions of the gang.[2][18]

It is also known that some members of the triad are special recruiters, whose main task is to find suitable conscripts within the Triple Threat turf, particularly young and strong benders. Since the Triple Threat Triad is a multi-bending organization, what element a potential member is capable of bending is relatively unimportant. The recruiters operate alone, as they normally do not have to fear being attacked.[2][4]

The mobsters who run the protection rackets around the city usually operate in teams of three: One waterbender, one earthbender and one firebender. In this way they can maximize the advantages their multi-bending brings with it. Some members also work as thugs to protect the headquarters.[1][2] In times of need, such as during turf wars with other triads, the Triple Threats also hire non-members as security detail.[2]

When Tokuga temporarily took control, he was determined to unite the other triads under his rule, regardless of the cost. To that end, he eliminated everyone standing in his way and engaged in turf wars with other gangs to control as much territory in downtown Republic City as possible.[5] He also began to hire street children to act as messengers for the triad.[12]


Main article: Triple Threat Triad headquarters
Triple Threat Triad headquarters

The old Triple Threat Triad headquarters was located near Central City Station and masked as a restaurant.

By 170 AG, the Triple Threat Triad had established a permanent headquarters in a large building located in downtown Republic City which was masked as a restaurant. According to Mako, the front of the building is almost always heavily guarded by thugs. However, during an Equalist raid the defense was overthrown, whereupon the headquarters was infiltrated and damaged by Equalist forces.[2] In the course of the following repairs, the wooden front door[2] was replaced by a steel door in order to increase the headquarters' security.[3]

Following Tokuga's rise of power, the Triple Threats abandoned their old permanent base in favor of moving their headquarters between several safehouses in regular intervals.[12]


Triple Threat Triad's car

The Satomobile used by the Triple Threat Triad is red with a golden lion turtle grill.

The Triple Threat Triad's cars are red racers with a golden grill in the form of a lion turtle. They are used by all its members, and when one of these cars is seen coming down the street, it is usually indicative of incoming trouble.[19]

Notable members[]


  • The term "triad" refers to a Chinese crime syndicate, which operates in any city where there is a large population of ethnic Chinese. This parallels the Triple Threat Triad's operation in Republic City, a metropolis that is highly inspired by Chinese culture.
  • Their appearance and activities reflect those of American mobsters during the 1920s.
  • Most named members of the Triple Threat Triad have a personal nickname, such as "Shady" Shin, "Two Toed" Ping, and "Lightning Bolt" Zolt.
    • In this regard, they are similiar to the ancient Earth Kingdom daofei crime society.[20][21]
  • The Republic City Police has mugshots of several Triple Threat Triad members in a photobook, including Shady Shin, a Triple Threat Triad earthbender, and another mobster who was present at the Revelation rally.[22]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (April 14, 2012). "Welcome to Republic City". The Legend of Korra. Book One: Air. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (April 21, 2012). "The Revelation". The Legend of Korra. Book One: Air. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (October 11, 2013). "The Sting". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 6. Nickelodeon.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 From older Welcome to Republic City online game, originally on Nick.com. Game now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Korra - Triple Threat Triads.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer), Koh, Irene (artist), Piekos, Nate; Blambot (letterer), Campbell, Heather; Bak, Jane (cover), Ng, Killian (colorist). Turf Wars Part One (July 26, 2016), Dark Horse Comics.
  6. Sava, Oliver (July 25, 2017). 'The Legend of Korra' Is Introducing Younger Fans to Same-Sex Relationships. VICE. Retrieved on September 29, 2017. “We learn about the oldest triad in Republic City [...]”
  7. 7.0 7.1 The Legend of Korra: "Republic City Hustle". IGN. IGN Entertainment (August 12, 2013). Retrieved on August 12, 2013.
  8. Hedrick, Tim (writer). (August 9, 2013). "Republic City Hustle: Part 1". Republic City Hustle. Episode 1. Nick.com.
  9. Gonzalez, Maricela (September 13, 2013). "'Legend of Korra' season 2 premiere: The creators answer our burning questions". Family Room. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on September 13, 2013. “She is undoubtedly holding out on some sordid characters among the Triads, I'd say! It is a nice thing to hold over their heads in order to get them to behave better.”
  10. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (November 1, 2013). "The Guide". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 9. Nickelodeon.
  11. Hedrick, Tim, Hamilton, Joshua (writers) & Shirahama, Eiro, Jin Ahn, Sung (directors). PlatinumGames (October 21, 2014). The Legend of Korra. Activision.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer), Koh, Irene (artist), Piekos, Nate; Blambot (letterer), Campbell, Heather; Ng, Killian (cover). Turf Wars Part Two (January 17, 2018), Dark Horse Comics.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Starter Set, Adventure Booklet, pg. 27.
  14. 14.0 14.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer), Koh, Irene (artist), Piekos, Nate; Blambot (letterer), Campbell, Heather; Ng, Killian (cover). Turf Wars Part Three (August 1, 2018), Dark Horse Comics.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Republic City, Version 1.0, 2023, p. 23.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Republic City, Version 1.0, 2023, p. 27.
  17. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Republic City, Version 1.0, 2023, p. 21.
  18. From older Welcome to Republic City online game, originally on Nick.com. Game now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Korra - "Lightning Bolt" Zolt.
  19. From older Welcome to Republic City online game, originally on Nick.com. Game now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Korra.
  20. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Eighteen, "The Town". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  21. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Fourteen, "The Introduction". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  22. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (October 4, 2013). "Peacekeepers". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 5. Nickelodeon.

See also[]