Chinatown Gangs: Extortion, Enterprise, and Ethnicity (Studies in Crime and Public Policy)

Chinatown Gangs: Extortion, Enterprise, and Ethnicity (Studies in Crime and Public Policy)

Language: English

Pages: 233

ISBN: 0195136276

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In Chinatown Gangs, Ko-lin Chin penetrates a closed society and presents a rare portrait of the underworld of New York City's Chinatown. Based on first-hand accounts from gang members, gang victims, community leaders, and law enforcement authorities, this pioneering study reveals the pervasiveness, the muscle, the longevity, and the institutionalization of Chinatown gangs. Chin reveals the fear gangs instill in the Chinese community. At the same time, he shows how the economic viability of the community is sapped, and how gangs encourage lawlessness, making a mockery of law enforcement agencies.

Ko-lin Chin makes clear that gang crime is inexorably linked to Chinatown's political economy and social history. He shows how gangs are formed to become "equalizers" within a social environment where individual and group conflicts, whether social, political, or economic, are unlikely to be solved in American courts. Moreover, Chin argues that Chinatown's informal economy provides yet another opportunity for street gangs to become "providers" or "protectors" of illegal services. These gangs, therefore, are the pathological manifestation of a closed community, one whose problems are not easily seen--and less easily understood--by outsiders.

Chin's concrete data on gang characteristics, activities, methods of operation and violence make him uniquely qualified to propose ways to restrain gang violence, and Chinatown Gangs closes with his specific policy suggestions. It is the definitive study of gangs in an American Chinatown.




















violence, guns, drug money, police repression, and exploitation of women. Gangs have always provided an organizational context that leads to elevated rates of violence. Studies comparing gang and nongang members show that gang members engage in more violent crimes than do nongang delinquent youths (Tracy, 1987; Fagan, 1990). Adolescents have higher rates of violence during periods of gang membership than they do either before joining or after leaving a gang (Thornberry et al., 1993). Gang

instances, the police filed a report and told the proprietors to call them when the gang members approached them again. Table 5.3 shows the reasons given by Chinese victims of gang extortion, robbery, and burglary and NCVS victims of personal robbery for reporting those crimes to the police. Chinese victims of gang extortion contacted law enforcement authorities mainly because they wanted to prevent the offenders from committing further crimes against them, to stop or prevent the particular

a growing number of American-born Chinese are joining gangs. Among foreign-born subjects, most were born in either Hong Kong or China. The rest came from Vietnam, Taiwan, Korea, or Cambodia. Subjects born in Korea were all Koreans, whereas subjects from Vietnam and Cambodia included Chinese, Vietnamese, and Cambodians. The average number of years the foreignborn subjects had been in America was 9.3, which indicates that most were not recent immigrants. This was also the case for members of San

retaliation. Heroin Trafficking Since their arrival in America, the Chinese have been thought to have been heavily involved in opium use and trafficking (Mark, 1992). In the U.S. Senate hearings on Chinese immigration of 1877, government officials and police officers testified that San Francisco's Chinatown was beleaguered with then-legal opium dens (U.S. Senate, [1877] 1978). It was reported that there were 200 opium dens within the core area (about nine blocks) of the community (A. McLeod,

in the law enforcement armory (13lakev, 1994). According to Palmer: RICO is an effective tool because it enables you to get at the organization as a whole. Also, and as importantly, it helps us to make cases because it ordinarily involves many substantive charges in an indictment against an organization. When you're dealing with reluctant witnesses, it is especially helpful. Usually, an extortion victim is one of many: there are numerous witnesses and some gang members who cooperate with us

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