Published On: Fri, Oct 4th, 2019

Asian Criminal Groups – Chinese Triads, Japanese Yakuza, Vietnamese/Laotian Gangs

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Similar to Italian-American criminal groups, Asian gangs were first formed long ago and consisted of outlaws, bandits and several other kinds of notorious malcontents. Today they are still highly organized and are engaged in a myriad of illicit ventures like extortion, drug smuggling, prostitution and murder. This article looks at the origin of some high profile criminal fraternities hailing from China, Japan and the relatively new gangs of Vietnamese and Laotian heritage that are developing a reputation for extreme violence.

The Chinese Triads

The Chinese Triads, or secret societies, were formed out of self-preservation, patriotism and unity. In the late 17th century in mainland China the Qing dynasty, which was set up by the northern Manchu rulers, was seen as a repressive regime against the Han majority and was at the same time trying to break the rule of the older, weakened Ming dynasty. Kang-Hsi, the second emperor of the Qing, did not tolerate the existence of secret societies and outlawed Buddhist and Taoist practices.

As a direct consequence of these extreme policies the Hung Mun group was created. Secret forms of communication were developed to confuse and frustrate the spies of Kang-Hsi and to foster a sense of brotherhood and loyalty.

The Boxer Rebellion of 1899–1901 saw the involvement of the White Lotus Society and the Society of Right and Harmonious Fists, which made unsuccessful attempts to eliminate the presence of foreigners in China.

The Japanese Yakuza

The origin of the word yakuza is clouded in mystery but it’s most widely believed that it comes from the words for the numbers eight (ya), nine (ku), and three (za). This numerical combination adds up to twenty, which is a losing hand in hanafuda, a Japanese variation of blackjack. When it’s translated into English the word yakuza means “worthless.” Indeed, they are seen as social outcasts, unwanted by society.

Asian Criminal Groups - Chinese Triads, Japanese Yakuza, Vietnamese/Laotian Gangs

In 17th century Japan, the so-called “crazy ones” (kabuki mono) were the samurai warriors with no masters. They were also known as ronin. These men roamed the countryside with wide broadswords and caused all kinds of mayhem. With excessively outlandish speech and clothing they intimidated others easily, and often found work as hired bodyguards or thieves. Modern day Yakuza members trace their ancestry to these ancient outlaws.

Similar to Sicilian gangsters in the U.S., Yakuza groups are organized into families. Each of them is headed by an oyabun (boss) who gives orders to those lower down the chain of command called kobun (children). Their activities range from election rigging, protection rackets and white slavery. The Japanese syndicates also have their hands in drugs and prostitution. Loyalty to an oyabun is absolute and the practice of severing the pinky finger (yubitsume) is a form of apology if one gets out of line.

Vietnamese and Laotian Gangs

Although these gangs are not as tightly organized as their Chinese and Japanese counterparts, the members are not hesitant to shoot to kill. According to a story from the San Francisco Chronicle, bloody turf wars and home invasions are trademark practices of these Southeast Asian hoodlums.

These descendants of hill tribes native to Indochina, the Khmu, the Mien and the Hmong are the sons of Vietnamese and Laotian refugees who came to the U.S. after the Vietnam conflict was over. Their activities also include heroin smuggling and auto theft.

About the Author

- I am an internet marketing expert with an experience of 8 years.My hobbies are SEO,Content services and reading ebooks.I am founder of SRJ News andTech Preview.

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