Understanding of Organized Crime in Japan, Russia, China and Mexico

Understanding of Organized Crime in Japan, Russia, China and Mexico

Organized crime in China

Organized crime in China has cultural ties owing to the fact that China allegiance to friends and family is the most significant aspect of society and should be obeyed (Abadinsky, 2009). Chinese communities are hierarchical just like the structure of organized crime that conducts its business in the patron client style organization. The Triads were composed of secret societal Chinese which were a reflection of organized criminals organized in a triangular form and the Chinese three pronged concepts of man, earth, and heaven (Abadinsky, 2009).

Organized criminals engaged in piracy, kidnapping, and armed robberies in the earlier going. In the contemporary Chinese society, the Tongs and Triads have included human trafficking, extortion, and drug trafficking, among other criminal operations such as prostitution and gambling (Dobrev & Webb, 2011). In America, the Triad offshoot is referred to as the Tongs and they are largely involved in prostitution and gambling. The tongs are also connected to smaller Asian gangs (Abadinsky, 2009).

Organized Crime in Japan

Organized crime in Japan traces its roots in over 300 years ago, starting with groups such as the boryokudan groups, Kazou Taoka, and Yamagichi-Gumi (Abadinsky, 2009). After the conversion of Japanese government to a centralized model, most founding criminal groups were displaced by samurai thus leading to the need for new survival means. The Yamagichi-Gumi and the samurai yakuza groups recruit soldiers to carry out their operations. The gang members have numerous tattoos on their bodies. Any member who commits any act which the yakuza deems wrong is cut off his pinky finger. The yakuza are able to carry out their operations openly, and they even have headquarters with particular signage displayed. This is due to the fact that they have a significantly long history in Japan and they consider themselves as more samurai than criminals. They often consider themselves helpful in “policing” entertainment districts, as well as keeping street crime levels very low.

Initiation and promotion in the criminal gangs involve money contributed for the cause and an elaborate sake ritual rather than familial ties (Abadinsky, 2009). The larger percentage of the soldiers are from poor backgrounds are not well educated. A subordinate yakuza member may take up the status of a leader who has been charged with a crime and serve the whole sentence on behalf of the leader irrespective of whether it means prison sentence or not.

Japanese gangs are bureaucratic in nature, with the main intention of amassing power and monetary gain. This system is properly structured, with scouts who are charged with the responsibility of searching local hangouts so as to recruit other members to the gang, who begin on the lower rungs of the ladder (Abadinsky, 2009). The yakuza groups operate most criminal activities in Japan, including prostitution, alien smuggling, drug smuggling, gun trafficking, white-collar crime, extortion, and illegal gambling through infiltration of legitimate businesses (Finckenauer & Chin, 2006).

Organized crime in Russia

Abadinsky (2009) points out that the breeding and training ground for organized crime in Russia was developed in the Communist era, which was characterized by enormous corruption and deprivation of individual freedom. The communist activities destroyed the work ethics in the country, paving way for organized crime to provide a more palatable system to the common members of the public most of who depended on it for survival. Due to the absence of a reliable legal system within the former Soviet Union, businesses are compelled to depend on “shadow justice” guaranteed by criminal groups such as the “vory v zakone”, which emerged among hard-core prison camp inmates and organized into tight networks which operated within the country. Following the failure of the Soviet Union to provide funding for professional sports, the athletes also joined criminal gangs.

Many nationalities as well as ethnic groups are composed of the term Russian organized crime (Abadinsky, 2009).The gang members are highly respected in the Russian American underworld. Just as in Southern Italy, Russian gang bosses provide alternative formal justice system which is ineffective and corrupt. Various ethnic group members have also adopted mafia activities, with the Chechens being most feared. Russian organized crime in the United States has a much looser structure, without any allegiance of loyalty among members. The members often turn on each other when caught so as to keep away from heavy sentences under the RICO Act (Abadinsky, 2009).

The disbandment of the Soviet Union also led to the termination of the law enforcement system, leading to wide gaps in the structure, which organized gangs took full advantage of, as they merged their way into the government and military, making them to have law enforcement on the payroll reports (Abadinsky, 2009). In most cases, crimes are not punishable due to the fact that the system is often based on status and relationship besides governmental participation. Russian organized crime undertakes a wide variety of activities including, but not limited to, money laundering, human trafficking, and narcotics. There are three tiers to the structure: the central command center composed of the Soobschestvo, middle level criminals referred to as Prestupnaia, and professional criminals called Gruppirovki (Abadinsky, 2009).

Organized crime in Mexico

The Mexican government and culture is similar to that of Italy, with patron-client relationships based on deep-seated immediate and extended familial ties. The Mexican history is characterized by one-party dominance which is greatly absorbed in corruption, especially in the underpaid law enforcement sector. Like in other parts of Latin America, the enterprise of Mexican organized crime is drugs (Abadinsky, 2009).

Drug groups are organized in a bureaucratic manner, but developed around familial ties in a Mexican fashion. Unlike organized gangs which use resources for defending their territorial hegemony, Mexican gangs often concentrate on enterprise which, nonetheless, commonly places them in violent conflict with rival gangs. The destruction of chief Colombian cartels has given Mexicans the chance to deal directly with Peruvian and Bolivian sources for cocaine (Abadinsky, 2009).

The Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations are heavily violent, family operated gangs which control most of the country through provision of employment and necessities to the poverty-stricken population (Abadinsky, 2009). Due to the their superior organization and an extensive drug reputation, Mexican cartels have enjoyed diversification, thus dividing their operations into marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and now methamphetamine groups (Abadinsky, 2009). In addition to drug trafficking, Mexican gangs also smuggle immigrants, especially women and young girls, to work in brothels, particularly those catering to migrant workers.
Differences in organized crime between the four countries and the United States

Differences in organized crime include cultural differences, governmental differences, and structural differences. With regard to government influences, the Russian government plays an important role in organized crime whereas in the United States, organized crime has never been sanctioned by the government. Structurally, the Mexicans and Chinese use a patron-client structure, which is similar to the original American organized crimes (Finckenauer & Chin, 2006). However, Japan and Russia operate under a bureaucratic structure. Cultural aspects are drawn from the style of organization which reflects the practices and rules of the operation (Dobrev & Webb, 2011). Mexico, China, and the United States take into account the importance of family and friends, whereas Russia and Japan have less loyalty since money is the greatest driving force.

Similarities in organized crime between the four countries and the United States

There are various similarities among all organized gangs in Japan, Mexico, Russia, China, and the United States. All of them are driven by monetary gains and power, despite the fact that the means for achieving such goals may be different. They all tend to engage in narcotics, money laundering, and aim at gaining influence on public officials through extortion and bribery. These groups also have leaders, mid-level managers, and ground soldiers, and they have internal promotional methods (Mallory, 2011).

Abadinsky, H. (2009).  Organized crime (9th Ed.).  Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Dobrev, P. W., & Webb, C. M. (2011). Organized Crime, Gangs and Trafficking. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Finckenauer, J. O., & Chin, K. L. (2006). Asian transnational organized crime and its impact on the United States: developing a transnational crime research agenda. Trends in Organized Crime, 10(2), 18-107.

Mallory, S. L. (2011). Understanding Organized Crime. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

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