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Vietnamese Gangs in America

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 49 Issue: 5 Dated: May 2001 Pages: 100-104
Rob Krott
Date Published
May 2001
5 pages
This article profiles the nature and activities of Vietnamese gangs in America.
More than 600,000 Vietnamese live in the United States. The FBI reports that the high crime rate in these communities is out of proportion to their size. The Vietnamese community considers gang-related violent crime to be its number one societal problem. Gang-oriented criminals form a small, but violent and vicious minority of the Vietnamese community. Although Vietnamese gangs had their genesis in southern California, they are highly mobile and nomadic. The infusion of Vietnamese immigrants to locations outside of southern California has led to Vietnamese gang activity across the country and into other countries. The typical crime perpetrated by the Vietnamese nomadic gangs, usually against Vietnamese or other Asian refugee families, is a home invasion robbery. Home invasion robberies, which are carefully planned by the gangs, are known for the extreme violence inflicted on victims. In addition to fearing retaliation, the victims also fear the police, especially if the victims are engaged in illegal activities themselves. Thus, many such crimes go unreported. The kidnapping of young girls to force them into the gang lifestyle is common. In many cases they are coerced into having sex, doing drugs, and committing criminal offenses. As the first and second generations of Southeast Asian immigrants involved in criminal gangs mature in age, there may be a transition to more organized criminal pursuits, such as racketeering, prostitution, and narcotics. Their use of extreme violence will probably continue to be central to their tactics.