Major Transnational Organized Crime Groups

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Transnational criminals often operate in well-organized groups, intentionally united to carry out illegal actions. Groups typically involve certain hierarchies and are headed by a powerful leader. These transnational organized crime groups work to make a profit through illegal activities. Because groups operate internationally, their activity is a threat to global security, often weakening governmental institutions or destroying legitimate business endeavors.

Well-known organized crime groups include: [Notes 1-4]

  • Russian Mafia. Around 200 Russian groups that operate in nearly 60 countries worldwide. They have been involved in racketeering, fraud, tax evasion, gambling, drug trafficking, arson, robbery, and murder.
  • La Cosa Nostra. Known as the Italian or Italian-American mafia. The most prominent organized crime group in the world from the 1920s to the 1990s. They have been involved in violence, arson, bombings, torture, loan sharking, gambling, drug trafficking, health insurance fraud, and political and judicial corruption.
  • Yakuza. Japanese criminal group. Often involved in multinational criminal activities, including human trafficking, gambling, prostitution, and undermining licit businesses.
  • Fuk Ching. Chinese organized criminal group in the United States. They have been involved in smuggling, street violence, and human trafficking.
  • Triads. Underground criminal societies based in Hong Kong. They control secret markets and bus routes and are often involved in money laundering and drug trafficking.
  • Heijin. Taiwanese gangsters who are often executives in large corporations. They are often involved in white collar crimes, such as illegal stock trading and bribery, and sometimes run for public office.
  • Jao Pho. Organized crime group in Thailand. They are often involved in illegal political and business activity.
  • Red Wa. Gangsters from Thailand. They are involved in manufacturing and trafficking methamphetamine.

Some known organized crime groups have been linked to terrorist activity.

Works Cited

[1] Finckenauer, J., and K. Chin. “Asian Transnational Organized Crime and Its Impact on the United States.” Final report for the National Institute of Justice, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, 2006, NCJ 213310.

[2] Finckenauer, J.O. “Chinese Transnational Organized Crime: The Fuk Ching (pdf, 3 pages).” National Institute of Justice.

[3] Finckenauer, J.O. “La Cosa Nostra in the United States (pdf, 4 pages) ,” National Institute of Justice.

[4] Finckenauer, J.O. Russian Organized Crime in the United States . National Institute of Justice.

Date Created: November 15, 2007