|"Since you're obviously fresh off the boat, let me explain a couple things. You're in Triple Threat Triad territory, and we're about to put you in the hospital."|
|— A gang member attempting to intimidate Korra.|
The Triple Threat Triad, also known as the Triple Threats, is the largest of the triads that operate in Republic City. Led by Viper, they are the only gang that consists of waterbenders, earthbenders, and firebenders, as opposed to the other single-element focused gangs. The Triple Threats work out of the back of a restaurant near Central City Station. Downtown Republic City is considered to be their turf; however, all of the city's triads are constantly involved in various territorial wars. Members of the Triple Threats, such as Shady Shin, are known to solicit recruits at Central City Station. The mobsters use their bending abilities to run a protection racket on the citizens of Republic City.
Rise to power
Under the leadership of Lightning Bolt Zolt, the Triple Threat Triad 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. By 167 AG, the triad had also become involved in fixing pro-bending matches and illegal bets, bribing even respected pro-benders such as Toza.
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.
Confrontation with Avatar Korra
Three years later, when Viper, Two Toed Ping, and another member of the Triple Threat Triad made a routine visit to a phonograph shop to collect money from the owner, Mr. Chung informed them that business had been slow that week, and he could not pay the fee that the gang demanded. One of the members threatened the shopkeeper, saying that the gang could neglect the protection business if he refused to pay. Frightened, the owner offered a free phonograph to compensate for the money, but the gang did not accept. They destroyed the phonograph, and threatened him again.
When Korra intervened, the gangsters initially did not know of her identity as the Avatar and simply mocked her, declaring that they were about to put her "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.
The Anti-bending Revolution
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. 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. After these events, Viper replaced Zolt as the triad's leader.
Hired by Varrick
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.
The police later arrested and questioned some Triple Threat Triad members, who claimed that Mako aided them in raiding Future Industries' warehouse.
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.
The rise of Tokuga
In 174 AG, as a result of the creation of the Republic City spirit portal, most of downtown was destroyed, including the triads' turf, causing a power vacuum. An upstart kid named Tokuga soon took advantage of the chaos by first usurping Viper as leader of the Triple Threat Triad, before leading the Triple Threats to recruit members of other triads, killing anyone who didn't fall in line.
The Triple Threat Triad later started a turf war with the Creeping Crystal Triad. Tokuga defeated Jargala and her followers with chi blocking and was about to finish her off only for the police to arrive and force the triads to scatter, though Two Twoed Ping and another member named Mushi were arrested. Ping later unwittingly gave up Tokuga's name to Chief Beifong and Officer Mako.
The Triple Threat Triad was later hired by Wonyong Keum to attack the airbenders guarding the spirit portal. During the battle, spirits emerged to protect the portal from the Triple Threats, forcing the triads to retreat after a dark dragon eel spirit disfigured Tokuga by transforming the right half of his body. Tokuga then returned to Keum and forcibly seized control of Keum Enterprises and all its assets to bolster the Triple Threat Triad.
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.
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.
In times of need, such as during turf wars with other triads, the Triple Threats also hire non-members as security detail.
- Main article: Triple Threat Triad headquarters
The Triple Threat Triad established their headquarters in a large building located in downtown Republic City which is 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. In the course of the following repairs, the wooden front door was replaced by a steel door in order to increase the headquarters' security.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Despite being a bending triad, members who had their bending severed by Amon were allowed to remain in the group.