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

May 10, 2014

View as Single Page

During one assassination attempt from one of his gangsters, Nicky Louie was shot in the head but managed to run to the police station to save himself.

He agreed to work with the police and the federal prosecutors.

However, to gain the government’s protection, he had to admit to his own crimes and was sentenced to fifteen years in prison.

This led to the end of the era of New York’s Chinatown Triads.

Today in the U.S., the Chinese Triads consist of an elusive array of constantly changing alliances among many small gangs scattered across the country.

The only bond between the gangs is the desire for making money. These Triads are involved in everything from human trafficking and gambling, to heroin smuggling.

For the first time, the Chinese American Triads are moving beyond the Chinese community and are willing to work with anyone as long as they make money.

FBI Unit Chief Kingman Wong says this makes the Triads in the U.S. a more significant threat to the safety of American citizens.

It’s not easy to define Chinese organized crime today. The Triads are difficult to penetrate.

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

Return to Part 4 or start with Part 1

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.

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The History of Organized Crime in China: Part 2 of 5

May 7, 2014

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A myth says that China’s Triads started with a group of Buddhist monks that were martial arts experts who went to the assistance of a Qing Emperor to defeat an enemy.

Later, after defeating this enemy, the emperor decided to get rid of these monks since he saw them as a future threat.

After the assassination of hundreds of monks, a handful survived and started the secret societies known as the “Heaven and Earth Association”.

However, the myth of the Buddhist monks is only a legend. The truth is that the Triads (organized crime in China) didn’t start from such a noble cause.

FBI Unit Chief Kingman Wong says that Chinese organized crime members identify themselves with these ancient heroes in order to glamorize their criminal activities.

According to scholars, the true story of the Triads starts during the 1700s in Fujian province along China’s southeast coast facing Taiwan.

Dian Murray, a historian at the University of Notre Dame, says that Fujian province was China’s Wild West. For protection, young men banded together in mutual aid societies. Soon, these societies turned to crime.

The “Heaven and Earth Association” took for its emblem an equilateral triangle, which explains why these gangs are called the Triads in the West.

There was no central figure or mob boss that controlled the Triad gangs, which were similar to America’s street gangs of today.

Then in 1787, the Qing Emperor discovered the existence of these gangs and declared war.

However, to survive, the Triads in Fujian province spread to every corner of the Qing Empire, to Southeast Asia and America’s China towns where they sold drugs and dealt in prostitution and gambling.

In time, one gang, known as the Green Gang, controlled the opium trade and Shanghai in the early 1900s. The Green Gang was involved in every criminal activity.

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 3 on May 8, 2014 or return to Part 1

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


Tom Carter’s Review of Chris Thrall’s “Eating Smoke”

December 14, 2011

Don’ Do The Drug!
A review of Chris Thrall’sEating Smoke
By Tom Carter

What just might be the funniest if not first autobiography ever penned by a drug-addicted foreigner in China, Chris Thrall’s “Eating Smoke” contains more spiritual pollution than all of the titles on the Communist Party’s banned books list combined.

In a country whose history was irrevocably altered for the worst by the scourge of foreign-imported opium throughout the nineteenth century, it is no wonder that today’s China has one of the world’s least-tolerant anti-drug laws – including executions for traffickers. Basically, buying or selling drugs in China is a really stupid idea.

Enter Chris: “I’m not a stupid guy, just an average guy who does stupid things”.

Thrall, a 25 year-old Royal Marine who hastily quits the service to pursue a business venture in 1990’s-era Hong Kong, a city “where situations can only get worse,” just to find himself broke, homeless and fulfilling his own ominous prophecy.

Recalling the commando’s motto of “cheerfulness under adversity,” Thrall tries to make the best of his lowly situation by spending his time dancing in discos or hanging out in the notorious Chungking Mansions, “the world’s all-time greatest doshouse.”

The immigrant ghetto of Kowloon is not, however, the best influence on Thrall, who befriends all the wrong people, including a hebephile drug dealer from Ghana and a Filipina working girl, and soon succumbs to that favorite of Chungking pastimes–drugs.

To fund his new crystal meth habit, our detritivorous narrator forages the South China city-by-the-sea like a bottom-feeder for any job that will hire a white face.

From cubicle fixture to phone-book scams, English teacher to nightclub DJ, businessman to bouncer, Thrall manages to get fired from every gig dumb enough to hire a spun-out “chi sun gweilo” (crazy foreigner in Cantonese) who doesn’t sleep for 9 days at a time and tends to forget his own surname.

By the time Thrall reaches his last-resort of a job–as a doorman at a bar operated by the 14K, the largest Triad (Chinese crime family) in the world–he has been reduced to a hyper-paranoid shadow of his former self on the verge of drug psychosis.

“I would listen to the radio phone-ins, suspicious of the Cantonese conversation and wondering if people were calling in to report my movements,” he says during one of his many speed-soaked conspiracy theories.

What ensues is a hilarious amphetamine-paced cautionary tale of what NOT to do when addicted to drugs in Wan Chai gangland, “where the Dai Lo’s rule is law, pride is everything and life means nothing.”

Chris Thrall’s true story evokes Gregory David Roberts’ “Shantaram” and Alex Garland’s “The Beach,” both of which have been licensed to Hollywood, as “Eating Smoke” is sure to follow.

Also by Tom Carter Eating Smoke — a question and answer with author, Chris Thrall in addition to Harlequin Romance Invades China

____________________________

Travel Photographer Tom Carter traveled for 2 years across the 33 provinces of China to show the diversity of Chinese people in  China: Portrait of a People, the most comprehensive photography book on modern China published by a single author.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


The History of Organized Crime in China — Part 4/5

November 18, 2010

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.

However, 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. 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 had 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.

 

However, the Communists did not destroy the Chinese underworld. With hundreds of gangs operating in other countries, power shifted out of 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.

Return to The History of Organized Crime in China – Part 3

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


The History of Organized Crime in China — Part 2/5

November 17, 2010

A myth says that China’s Triads started with a group of Buddhist monks that were martial arts experts who went to the assistance of a Qing Emperor to defeat an enemy. 

Later, after defeating this enemy, the emperor decided to get rid of these monks since he saw them as a future threat.

After the assassination of hundreds, a handful survived and started the secret societies known as the “Heaven and Earth Association”.

However, the myth of the Buddhist monks is only a legend. The truth is that the Triads (organized crime in China) didn’t start from such a noble cause.

FBI Unit Chief Kingman Wong says that Chinese organized crime members identify themselves with these ancient heroes in order to glamorize their criminal activities.

According to scholars, the true story of the Triads starts during the 1700s in Fujian province along China’s southeast coast facing Taiwan.

Dian Murray, a historian at the University of Notre Dame, says that Fujian province was China’s Wild West. For protection, young men banded together in mutual aid societies. Soon, these societies turned to crime.

The “Heaven and Earth Association” took for its emblem an equilateral triangle, which explains why these gangs are called the Triads in the West.

There was no central figure or mob boss that controlled the Triad gangs, which were similar to America’s street gangs of today.

Then in 1787, the Qing Emperor discovered the existence of these gangs and declared war.

However, to survive, the Triads in Fujian province spread to every corner of the Qing Empire, to Southeast Asia and America’s China towns where they sold drugs and dealt in prostitution and gambling.

In time, one gang, known as the Green Gang, controlled the opium trade and Shanghai in the early 1900s. The Green Gang was involved in every criminal activity.

Return to The History of Organized Crime in China – Part 1

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


Organized Crime

November 14, 2010

The China Law Blog had an interesting discussion about China’s Mafia…. Whaddya know?

The questions were: “So what is going on out there? How big is China’s mafia? Does it steer clear of foreign companies, particularly those from the West? Is it big in Chongqing, yet far less so elsewhere? What do you know? Let’s get a discussion going….”

To offer more information, the five video clips embedded in this post are about organized crime in today’s China.

When I arrived at the China Law Blog, there were twenty-one comments.  A few said the Communist Party was the most powerful mob in China.

I don’t agree.

However, to be fair, that would fit most governments, which is the reason why America’s wise Founding Fathers created a Republic with checks and balances in an attempt to avoid the US being taken over by organized criminals voted into office by the democratic majority.

Occasionally in the US, city or regional political machines have become organized and involved in criminal activities. Chicago and New York are the first two cities that come to mind that have had a history of political corruption linked to organized crime.

Then comes along a Bo Xilai in China or government agents such as Eliot Ness or Frank J. Wilson in the US with the support and backing of forces more powerful than the criminals.

I’m sure that the growth of organized crime in China is no different from what we’ve seen in the US, Mexico, Europe, etc., and a few of the better comments at the China Law Blog support that opinion.

I found Blue Lantern’s comment informative. “In China the organized gangs are called Triads, and they are very strong in the North-East and South of China. They are also far stronger than the Mafia, and control much of the global drug trade.”

Several comments said most “loan sharking” in China was done by rather small and disorganized groups.

I found Sun Kim’s comment interesting. “The difference between organized crime “syndicates” in China and elsewhere is that the CCP has the power, will, and the might to crush any syndicate that it deems “inappropriate” virtually overnight. These “mafia” u describe are ragtag groups that undoubtedly operate with the unspoken approval of the provincial government and/or the CCP as they ultimately help support the economy, albeit in shady terms.”

In fact, the US Federal government has the power that Sun talks about, which is why the US mafia was crushed. All it takes is a concerted, focused effort. Macmillan published a book on this topic— Bringing Down the Mob, The War Against the America Mafia.

I found Laobaixing’s comment to be the most informative. He cited a source at Rutgers that studies this topic. “He describes a lot of mom and pop organizations working with each other, rather than some well integrated crime family.”

The opinions that most organized crime starts at the city and provincial level is the best answer. That’s how organized crime started in the US. However, I do not doubt that the Chinese Triads have returned to mainland China since Deng Xiaoping opened China to world trade.

Wherever there is a capitalist economy and a democracy, there will be fertile ground for organized crime to take root.

If you are interested in this discussion, I recommend you click over to the China Law Blog and read the rest of the comments. I also plan to launch a series of posts on organized crime in China soon.

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


The History of Organized Crime in China (Viewed as a Single Page)

January 28, 2010

For two thousand years, secret societies have been part of Chinese culture.

Most of these secret societies were harmless but a few were highly organized criminal organizations. Under emperors and Communists, in war and peace, Chinese crime lords have acted as shadow governments with their own laws and severe forms of punishment.

In recent decades, Chinese gangs have moved into major American cities competing with Russian gangs, Italians, Sicilians, Ukrainians, Japanese, Latinos, etc. Today, these gangs deal in more than gambling and drugs. They deal in human trafficking too.


Was she the Godfather of Chinese organized crime or a Robin Hood?

Over the last few decades, the business of smuggling people into the US by Chinese organized crime has boomed.

Many poor Chinese want to start a new life in the United States, which is known as Gold Mountain.

However, the risks are big and costly.  Each person may have to pay as much as 40 thousand dollars to the smugglers often ending in a form of slavery in America until the debt is paid.

Kingman Wong of the FBI says these smugglers are like the flu because they are always mutating their methods and alliances to find new ways to smuggle illegal aliens in to the US. There are hundreds of independent groups operating like this around the globe.

However, the beginnings of all this illegal activity may be traced to one group from the past — the Triads. The first such group was known as the “Heaven and Earth Association” and may have started in 1761 AD.

A myth says that China’s Triads started with a group of Buddhist monks that were martial arts experts who went to the assistance of a Qing Emperor to defeat an enemy.

Later, after defeating this enemy, the emperor decided to get rid of these monks since he saw them as a future threat.

After the assassination of hundreds of monks, a handful survived and started the secret societies known as the “Heaven and Earth Association”.

However, the myth of the Buddhist monks is only a legend. The truth is that the Triads (organized crime in China) didn’t start from such a noble cause.

FBI Unit Chief Kingman Wong says that Chinese organized crime members identify themselves with these ancient heroes in order to glamorize their criminal activities.

According to scholars, the true story of the Triads starts during the 1700s in Fujian province along China’s southeast coast facing Taiwan.

Dian Murray, a historian at the University of Notre Dame, says that Fujian province was China’s Wild West. For protection, young men banded together in mutual aid societies. Soon, these societies turned to crime.

The “Heaven and Earth Association” took for its emblem an equilateral triangle, which explains why these gangs are called the Triads in the West.

There was no central figure or mob boss that controlled the Triad gangs, which were similar to America’s street gangs of today.

Then in 1787, the Qing Emperor discovered the existence of these gangs and declared war.

However, to survive, the Triads in Fujian province spread to every corner of the Qing Empire, to Southeast Asia and America’s China towns where they sold drugs and dealt in prostitution and gambling.

In time, one gang, known as the Green Gang, controlled the opium trade and Shanghai in the early 1900s. The Green Gang was involved in every criminal activity.

At the center of the Green Gang’s metamorphosis was one man. His name was Du Yue-sheng. Du grew up an orphan and illiterate near Shanghai.

When Du was fourteen, he arrived in Shanghai and spent the money he earned on opium and women. In 1910, Du was sworn into the Green Gang.

Du lived and worked out of the French Concession in Shanghai where the police were the criminals.

In 1924, Du had an opportunity to become the leader of the Green Gang when the current leader, Wong, had the son of a powerful warlord beaten. The warlord then had Wong arrested and tossed in prison.

Du paid the warlord to free Wong, who then owed Du a debt of gratitude. From that day on, Du controlled the Green Gang.


Du Yue-sheng, godfather of the underworld—45 minute documentary

In 1927, General Chiang Kai-shek made a deal with the Triad Du controlled to destroy the Communists in Shanghai who were organizing labor unions.

Frederick Wakeman, a historian at the University of California-Berkeley says that Du was threatened with the possibility of a Communist victory.

Thousands of Green Gang members went after the Communists to shoot and behead as many as possible. Within hours, at least five thousand Communists had been executed.

As a reward, Chiang Kai-shek made Du a general in the Nationalist Army. Du’s public image became one of respectability while he maintained an iron control over Shanghai and the Green Gang.

For Chiang Kai-shek, the alliance with Du and the Green Gang became a useful way to raise money from Shanghai’s wealthy families.

Du was also in charge of the agency to stop the opium trade in Shanghai and he controlled the drugs seized by the Nationalists, which he would sell making a huge profit.

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.

During one assassination attempt from one of his gangsters, Nicky Louie was shot in the head but managed to run to the police station to save himself.

He agreed to work with the police and the federal prosecutors.

However, to gain the government’s protection, he had to admit to his own crimes and was sentenced to fifteen years in prison.

This led to the end of the era of New York’s Chinatown Triads.

Today in the U.S., the Chinese Triads consist of an elusive array of constantly changing alliances among many small gangs scattered across the country.

The only bond between the gangs is the desire for making money. These Triads are involved in everything from human trafficking and gambling, to heroin smuggling.

For the first time, the Chinese American Triads are moving beyond the Chinese community and are willing to work with anyone as long as they make money.

FBI Unit Chief Kingman Wong says this makes the Triads in the U.S. a more significant threat to the safety of American citizens.

It’s not easy to define Chinese organized crime today. The Triads are difficult to penetrate.

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

_______________

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