Asian Street Gangs

Asian groups such as the the Chinese Tong have been present in the United States for many years. Although Asian street gangs have cultural differences among gangs with ethnic ties to China, Korea, Laos, Vietnam, and other Asian countries, many Asian crime groups have become formally organized and are starting to pattern themselves after established Occidental gangs. Many Asian street gangs prefer to use names such as Asian Bad Boys, Asian Boyz, Ba Hala Na, Bataan Boys, Born To Kill, Oriental Boys, or Tiny Rascal Gang, while others use the names of U.S. gangs such as Bloods, Crips, Young Gunz or Gangster Disciples.

Asian street gang members tend not to dress or wear clothing in a distinctive manner. However, in contrast to earlier Asian Gangs, some are beginning to wear visible Asian and other types of tattoos and colors.

They are not inclined to claim gang affiliation when questioned by law enforcement. Law enforcement agencies consider Asian gangs particularly difficult to investigate for reasons that include language barriers, a lack of Asian investigators, a limited understanding of Asian cultures and Asian gang formation, a poor or distant relationship with Asian communities in general, and the mobility of Asian gang members across State and national lines. At the most basic level of investigation, the many languages and dialects spoken by Asian gang members represent a formidable obstacle, making electronic surveillance more time consuming and costly. Infiltration by undercover officers is virtually impossible unless the officers thoroughly understand the nuances of the language, dialect, and culture. Even when this obstacle is removed, initiation rituals that require commission of a crime are likely to block undercover infiltration.

As a rule, Asian gangs are more profit motivated than turf oriented. Violence to protect territory per se is not common. When violence does erupt, it is more likely for defense of profitable criminal activity in a locality, not an expression of a proprietary claim to a neighborhood. Asian gangs can be highly mobile, especially Vietnamese and other Indochinese gangs. Often described as criminally sophisticated and violent, Indochinese gangs tend to be familiar with States' extradition laws and sometimes use this knowledge to select areas for criminal activity. Such mobility and criminal expertise support the development of tactics based on interregional cooperation and coordination among agencies.

A rise in organized crime - The types of crimes associated with Asian gangs have obvious implications for suppression tactics. These crimes include hit-and-run home invasions, drug trafficking (often involving large quantities), extortion of merchants and other business owners, auto theft, and insurance fraud. Victims are likely to be members of the Asian community who often do not report crimes because of intimidation, a culturally based distrust of law enforcement, or an acceptance of some forms of victimization (for example, Chinese and other Asian business owners who regard extortion as a customary way of doing business).

Source: USDOJ: 


Click to View Asian gang marks, scars and tattoos

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Robert Walker

This page was last updated on 03/13/2014

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