The History of Organized Crime in China: Part 4 of 5

View as Single Page

In 1937, Japan invaded China. On August 14, the Japanese launched a fierce assault on Shanghai. Chinese refugees fled to the foreign concessions hoping to be safe.

Du Yue-sheng had his Green Gang fight alongside Nationalist troops against the Japanese.

Three months later, Shanghai fell and Du fled to Hong Kong, and the Triads would never be the same.

A month after the end of World War II, in 1945, Du returned to Shanghai.

Any respect and fear he’d earned before the war had been lost. The Shanghainese saw him as a coward for running away from the Japanese and booed him when he was seen on the streets.

When the Communists won in 1949, broken and unhealthy, Du fled to Hong Kong and died there in 1951 at 66. The Communist Revolution ended the Green Gang in Shanghai.

  Asian Crime Gangs in the US: 43:47 min.

The Chinese Communists didn’t destroy China’s criminal underworld. With hundreds of gangs operating in other countries, the leadership of the gangs left mainland China.

In time, New York’s Chinatown would become the center of the Chinese Triads in the US.

In 1977, on Mott St. in the heart of New York’s Chinatown, a war raged between the Chinese gangs. One Chinatown gang boss, Nicky Louie, became the most feared gangster in New York’s Chinatown.

Nicky arrived in New York’s Chinatown in the 1960s along with tens of thousands of other Chinese soon after Congress changed the Chinese Exclusion Act allowing more Chinese into the US.

Work was hard to come by, so young Chinese men organized street gangs modeled after the same gangs from China that the Communists had destroyed.

Nicky, ruthless and smart, quickly became the leader of a Triad gang called the Ghost Shadows.

Under Nicky’s leadership, the Ghost Shadows became more powerful and ruthless. However, Nicky wanted to control all of Chinatown. Success then made Nicky a target and he was shot many times but survived.

The History Channel produced a documentary on Organized Crime in China. (click the previous link to see the entire video—about an hour)

Continued in Part 5 on May 10, 2014 or return to Part 3

View as Single Page


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline

4 Responses to The History of Organized Crime in China: Part 4 of 5

  1. Jess says:

    After reading this far, it’s obvious that democracy/capitalism is fertile ground for crime and violence from citizens on citizens.

    We have a choice. Communism where the people aren’t part of the decision making process but criminals are kept under control or democracy where the people have some power through the vote and some protection from government but gangs and crime are rampant.

    • That’s about it. And no democracy has survived. History reveals that in time, the crime and violence in a democracy reach a point where the people demand an authoritarian government to restore order even at the risk that some of them will suffer at the hands of a much more brutal criminal justice system that may crack down hard without as many restrictions as a democracy places in their path. Freedom with a Bill of Rights to protect citizens against govenrment also offers more freedom for criminals to act without the fear of being tossed in jail or executed without much evidence.

      In the U.S., it’s the governments burden to prove someone is guilty and if the criminal is rich, he can hire better lawyers and often beat the system no matter what evidence there is to prove he’s guilty. In an authoritarian govenrment, even a suspicion of guilt and a history of criminal activity may be enough for an arrest and a conviction without a public trial—the lawyers in this system don’t have as much of a chance to get rich from wealthy criminal clients who pay them small fortunes to beat the system and return to their criminal behaviors.

      For instance, Michael Robert Milken.

      Milken was indicted for racketeering and securities fraud in 1989 in an insider trading investigation. As the result of a plea bargain, he pled guilty to securities and reporting violations but not to racketeering or insider trading. Milken was sentenced to ten years in prison, fined $600 million, and permanently barred from the securities industry by the Securities and Exchange Commission. His sentence was later reduced to two years for cooperating with testimony against his former colleagues and for good behavior.

      What’s Milken up to today?

      PR Watch reports, “From Junk Bonds to Junk Schools: Cyber Schools Fleece Taxpayers for Phantom Students and Failing Grades”

      “The data is in and K12 Inc.’s brand of full-time public “cyber school” is garbage. Not surprising for an educational model kicked off with a $10 million investment from junk-bond king Michael Milken.”

      Does crime pay in the United States? Forbes says he is worth $2.5 billion today

  2. frankie says:

    while reading this series I had a thought

    democracy is a better environment for crime to grow and operate

    instead of being the victim of a corrupt government

    people can be victims of many criminals and gangs

Comments are welcome — pro or con. However, comments must focus on the topic of the post, be civil and avoid ad hominem attacks.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: