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Saturday, November 13, 2004

The Gangs of New York: Two Violent Chinese Gangs Busted

Reuters reports: Fifty-one people believed to be members of two powerful Chinese organized crime gangs in New York were rounded up in predawn raids and indicted on Friday (Nov 12th), authorities said.

In three separate indictments filed in Manhattan federal court, the gang members faced charges including murder, attempted murder, racketeering, extortion, alien smuggling, money laundering and operation of illegal gambling businesses.

Federal agents and New York police arrested members of the Lim and Wang crime organizations after investigations spanning two years, authorities said.

Seven gang members were charged with attempting and conspiring to murder five victims. One victim was shot in the head, and others were stabbed and beaten almost to death.

The indictments also seek $11 million in forfeiture from 16 defendants charged with racketeering offenses.

The gangs are called the "Lim organization" and "Wang organization" by authorities. They wreaked havoc on Chinese immigrant communities, particularly in Manhattan's Chinatown and Flushing, Queens. The gambling parlors that served as the gang bases were located on Hester, Allen and Forsyth Streets in Chinatown in Manhattan and on 40th Road and 44th Road in Flushing, Queens.

NY Times reports: The officials charged that one gang was led by Lim Shang, 31, and the other by Wang Shao Feng, also 31. Unlike Chinatown crime organizations from the past, the two gangs did not have names. In contrast to gangs that dominated Chinatown in the early 1990's, whose power was based on controlling city blocks in the community, the new gangs grew up around Mr. Wang and Mr. Lim, Mr. Kelley said, because they were especially ruthless leaders.

The main victims of the gangs' violence were customers who went to their clandestine gambling parlors to play traditional Chinese card games, the officials said, and ran up high debts. The gangs did not threaten residents in the general communities where they operated, as Chinatown gangs did during a crime wave a decade ago.

One line of gang business was to fly Chinese immigrants to New York with false passports and airline tickets, charging as much as $70,000 per person, the officials said. Five gang members are charged with smuggling immigrants and holding some of them hostage in New York hideouts until the fees were paid.

The NY Post reported: The sweeping charges were brought following a two-year probe (Codenamed Operation Panda) launched by the joint FBI-NYPD Asian Criminal Enterprise Task Force, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Immigration and Customs and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District.

U.S. Charges 51 With Chinatown Smuggling [NY Times]
51 Suspected Chinese Gang Members Arrested in NY [Reuters]
Gangster Rap [NY Post]

Gangs of New York: Feds ID the Chinese Mafia

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