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In 1910, Hong Kong is in the grips of the powerful Red Dragon tong, a secret society that extorts revenue from merchant seamen, deals in both opium and slave trades, and savagely slaughters all those who offer opposition. A merchant seaman, Captain Jackson, swears revenge on the nefarious clan after they brutally murder his first officer, his daughter, and his servant in order to obtain a list of tong leaders intended for delivery to the police. Aiding him is a young female halfcaste, Lee, who, 15 years earlier, was sold by the tongs into bonded slavery. Though Jackson is captured and tortured by tong leader Chung King, he escapes when a beggar sets him free. Unknown to Jackson, Harcourt, a district supervisor of the East India Company is a tong member. When Lee learns that Harcourt has lured Jackson to a wharf where he is to be murdered, she races to warn him. Lee is fatally wounded by a tong hatchetman but delivers her message to Jackson before she dies. Following the incident, the beggar incites the crowd to attack the tongs. Harcourt runs to Chung King, but the tong leader remains calm; after killing Harcourt, he chooses death at the hands of his own followers.