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Chinatown Gangs: Extortion, Enterprise, and Ethnicity

NCJ Number
Ko-lin Chin
Date Published
247 pages
Based on first-hand accounts by gang members, gang victims, community leaders, and law enforcement authorities, this book presents a portrait of the underworld of New York City's Chinatown gangs.
The first chapter provides a theoretical framework for gang formation in the Chinese community, based on theoretical concepts of conflict and the web of group affiliations developed by Simmel (1955) and empirically used by Whyte (1943) and Suttles (1968) in their studies on the social order in the slum, as well as Aldrich's (1979) concepts on inter-organizational relationships and resource dependency and extensions of Cloward and Ohlin's (1960) concept of "criminal subculture." Chapter 2 describes the methods used in the study, followed by three chapters that focus on extortion, one of the major activities of Chinese gangs. One of the chapters assesses the prevalence, frequency, and seriousness of extortion in New York City's Chinese communities, focusing on quantitative issues such as the percentage of subjects who have been victimized; how often they were exploited; and the financial, psychological, and physical damage suffered by victims. Another chapter on gang extortion describes the patterns of extortion, as it explains the ways gangs extort money, food, and services from business owners; the methods used in approaching victims; the interactions between offenders and victims after the initial victimization; and the social organization of extortion. Chapter 5 focuses on how victims and the Chinese community in general react to the extortion. Chapter 6 discusses the individual and group characteristics of Chinese gangs, including profiles of gang members in terms of age, gender, country of origin, education, and family background. The remaining chapters consider other profit-generating gang criminal activities as well as gang violence and how local and Federal law enforcement authorities cope with Chinese gangs and other Chinese crime groups in the United States. Notes, glossary, a subject index, and a 364-item bibliography


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