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Transnational Activities of Chinese Crime Organizations

NCJ Number
Glenn E. Curtis; Seth L. Elan; Rexford A. Hudson; Nina A. Kollars
Date Published
April 2003
68 pages
This report discusses the major areas of criminal activity by Chinese crime organizations over the period 2000-2003, except for the jurisdictions of mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.
Sources for this report are several recent monographs, journal articles, and Internet reports by journalists and law enforcement agencies. For the purposes of this report, the term "Chinese" refers to individuals of purely Chinese ethnic origin living in any part of the world. The criminal groups described in the report vary in size and degree of structure and include syndicates, triads, gangs, and ad hoc combinations of organization members and nonmembers. The report concludes that Chinese crime organizations are found in most world population centers that have substantial ethnic Chinese populations. These centers are mainly in Australia, Europe, Japan, Latin America, North America, Russia, South Africa, and Southeast Asia. In most cases, Chinese crime groups begin their criminal operations with extortion and protection perpetrated against indigenous Chinese populations; this is followed by expansion into all major types of crime, including trafficking in persons and various commodities, financial crimes, gambling, prostitution, and violent crime. The types of crimes committed in specific areas will depend on the conditions and law enforcement priorities in the jurisdiction. This report details the criminal activities pursued by Chinese crime groups in specific geographical areas. Several large Chinese criminal groups have established operations in more than one country, and in some countries they have established functional, temporary alliances with other ethnic criminal groups. Chinese trafficking groups still use routes that were established through Eastern Europe in the late communist era. "Snakehead" groups, which smuggle illegal Chinese migrants to western Europe and North America, use networks of specialized accomplices in local communities. In the United States, Chinese groups established their initial footholds on the West Coast and in New York City; from there they have expanded to other large metropolitan areas, where their activities have diversified. A 155-item bibliography and appended brief profiles of Chinese crime organizations