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Organised Crime in East Central Europe: The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland

NCJ Number
Global Crime Volume: 6 Issue: 1 Dated: Febraury 2004 Pages: 70-83
Kelly Hignett
Date Published
February 2004
14 pages
This article presents an overview of the emergence and development of organized crime in East Central Europe, specifically in the countries of the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland and initiatives undertaken to combat organized crime.
With western-style political stabilization and economic development occurring in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland since the revolutions of 1989, this region in East Central Europe (ECE) has become increasingly attractive to organized crime. The international concern about organized crime in ECE began to be voiced in the early 1990's. In the beginning, criminal networks were primitive. However, they demonstrated many elements of organized crime in relation to gangs and mode of operation. Today, there is evidence that criminal gangs from Arab countries, Africa, Asia, the Balkan region, Turkey, and Western Europe are all active in ECE. Reports indicate that organized crime in Eastern Europe has a multi-criminal character, mixing high-risk criminal activities with lower risk enterprises. Many organized crime gangs today use fractional transport to conceal their operations. Despite the enormous range of activities that different criminal organizations are involved in, all are involved to some extent in economic crime and money laundering. In recent years, significant progress in combating organized crime has been made in ECE, such as a greater commitment to border security, changes in domestic law, and special law enforcement units. However, the countries of ECE must also use their recent accession to the European Union (EU) as a basis for preventing the further spread of organized crime on their territories. Notes, references