Flot people, xuât khâu lao dông hop tac
(jeu de mots né du fait que leur transfert était assuré à l'origine par la compagnie soviétique Aeroflot)
Après 1975, Moscou demande aux communistes vietnamiens de payer leur dette. Environ 20,000 travailleurs partent en URSS. Les communistes vietnamiens continuent la politique d'exportation des travailleurs, une pierre trois coups : acquittement de la dette, travail aux chômeurs, entrée des devises, ce secteur leur rapporte plus de 10 millions de FF ou plus de 20 milliards de dông par an, c'est-à-dire plus que le tourisme.
Les Ministères des Affaires Etrangères MOFA, de la Sécurité Publique, la direction du Tourisme sont à l'origine du réseau d'exportation des travailleurs (Hà Nôi - Moscou $ 3,800 dollars par personne, Hà Nôi - Allemagne $ 4,400 dollars par personne....)
En 1991, 200,000 travailleurs sont exportés, 80,000 (0.4 %) sont retournés au Viêt Nam.
Aussi jamais à court d'imagination pour exploiter leurs compatriotes, les pressuriser comme de la canne à sucre jusqu'à la dernière goutte, ils vont trouver une autre pompe à devises. En se lançant dans l'exportation massive des cerveaux et des bras vers l'URSS, ses satellites et les pays arabes. Un transfert, qui s'apparente à une émigration organisée de travailleurs destinée à résorber le chômage. Car à la différence de ceux-là, ces émigrés ne peuvent disposer librement de leur salaire - l'Etat ne leur en laissant que 20 % - et se voient obligatoirement soumis à un exil de 4 ou 5 ans selon leur contrat.
Depuis la chute du Mur, considérés comme demandeurs d'asile, ils sont souvent la proie de groupuscules nationalistes et racistes. Pour la plupart sans travail, condamnés à trafiquer pour survivre, il leur arrive de se former en bandes mafieuses. Quelques 40,000 anciens travailleurs émigrés végètent ainsi aujourd'hui en Allemagne, regroupés dans des foyers, laissés pour compte. des exclus, dont les communistes essaient encore malgré tout de tirer quelque bénéfice. En marchandant avec Berlin leur rapatriement au compte-gouttes contre de bons deutsche marks.
Au moment de la guerre du Golfe, alors que les bombardiers alliés s'apprêtaient à pilonner l'Irak, le gouvernement communiste vietnamien refusera obstinément les 17,000 "coopérants", qui s'y trouvaient.
Hànôi projetait d'exporter 50,000 travailleurs en 2001. Les pays arabes, la Corée du Sud, Taiwan et le Japon accueillent la majorité des émigrés, dont le salaire est toujours amputé de 80 % par le gouvernement. Ce programme est une bonne affaire pour le budget vietnamien, puisqu'il a rapporté en l'an 2001 $ 1.25 milliard de dollars.
RFA : La "Route de la soie" des Vietnamiens (Faligot R.)
On l'appelle la "Route de la soie". C'est celle, qui mène jusqu'en Allemagne réunifiée, une autre des étapes des clandestins chinois. Les services allemands, qui sont en général bien informés, estiment au moment du drame de Douvres que le gang de Wan Kuok-koi alias Dent cassée, un des piliers du banditisme de Macao pourtant alors emprisonné a organisé l'une des filières de Têtes de serpent pour convoyer des immigrants chinois à travers leur pays. Ce qui est sûr, c'est que les gens de la 14 K (shi si K bang, thâp tu K bang) offrent leurs services grâce à l'infrastructure, qu'ils avaient établie pour la drogue à des bailleurs de fonds, qui planifieraient la distribution des réseaux en fonction des besoins du moment. Ils arrivent même de collaborer avec leurs "frères ennemis" du Grand cercle (tai quan zi, thái khuyên tu) dans ces pérégrinations.
Mais l'autre fait saillant concernant la RFA, c'est le rôle des gangs vietnamiens. Une réelle coopération existe tout particulièrement à Berlin. Selon la police allemande, le passage des illégaux chinois est "comanagé" par les mafias vietnamiennes grâce à leurs réseaux implantés à partir de Bucarest, de Kiev et de Prague. La plupart de ces 40,000 Vietnamiens étaient implantés en République démocratique allemande RDA en vertu d'accords de coopération avec le Viêt Nam. La réunification de l'Allemagne les a intégrés en RFA , même si en principe un grand nombre auraient dû être renvoyés dans leur pays d'origine.
Les gangs vietnamiens , qui sont organisés différemment des triades, mériteraient aussi un livre à eux seuls, car leur influence va croissant. Leur empire s'étend autour du trafic de cigarettes; ils essaient d'obtenir le monopole dans ce domaine il est vrai florissant, auquel se livrent aussi les Chinois. C'est ainsi que 15 tonnes de fausses Benson ont été saisies au Havre en juin 2000 à destination de l'Angleterre en provenance de Chine. A l'inverse les Vietnamiens organisent avec la mafia chinoise des trafics d'automobiles de luxe à partir de la Belgique et de l'Allemagne en direction du Viêt Nam.
Les rivalités existent et sont parfois alimentées par une haine ancestrale, mais en même temps certains Vietnamiens sont les Chinois Hoa (Hua) - naguère commerçants à Cholon -, et ils peuvent faciliter des alliances tactiques. Le pactole est tellement important dans ces contrebandes et l'acheminement d'émigrés, que les vieilles rancoeurs peuvent rester au vestiaire.
Toutefois les guerres intestines entre vrais Vietnamiens facilitent l'action des services de sécurité. Qu'on en juge : entre 1992 et 1998 la "guerre des cigarettes" a provoqué une quarantaine d'assassinats à Berlin et une centaine dans toute l'Allemagne. A leur tour les trois principaux gangs, qui se disputaient le contrôle de Berlin et d'autres villes notamment orientales, ont perdu leur direction : le gang "Nghi Xuân" dirigé par Ha Ly, le gang "Quang Bình" dirigé par Van Tiu Trau, et le "Ngoc Thiêu" dirigé par Lê Duy Bao, tous condamnés avec nombre de leurs acolytes en 1997 et 1998. Mais on aurait tort de se réjouir trop tôt.
En effet le mode d'organisation des gangs vietnamiens permet une reproduction rapide des structures. Pourquoi cela ? Parce que les gangs sont organisés à trois niveaux :
1. le niveau du crime organisé avec un chef entouré d'un réseau intégré, uni et fidèle au chef, et d'un vaste canevas de relations à travers le monde;
2. le niveau de "bandes de rues", qui sont des réseaux plus lâches, mais très mobiles, remplissant des contrats, faisant preuve d'une extrême violence pour être reconnus, espérant un jour accéder au premier niveau; et
3. le niveau de l'"affiliation ponctuelle" des jeunes gens, qui rendent des services de façon sporadique (vol de voitures, renseignement, petits casses, deals de la drogue), qui se font fréquemment arrêter, mais ne savent rien de la vraie structure du gang. Ces derniers aspirent naturellement a pouvoir entrer dans les autres catégories*.
Cette structure a une série d'incidences sur la cogestion avec les Chinois des filières d'immigration en Allemagne : la disparition de chefs de bande ne s'est pas fait ressentir longtemps dans la mesure où leurs adjoints ont pris la relève. De plus la souplesse dans le recrutement permet d'utiliser des jeunes gens, qui ne savent pas grand chose de l'organisation interne pour accompagner et piloter les immigrants. Enfin des gangs de rues connus pour leur violence sont facilement utilisables par des Têtes de serpent chinoises. De surcroît l'organisation de transferts en direction de la France est facilitée par la montée en puissance de certains gangs vietnamiens dans notre pays, où la communauté vietnamienne est très importante pour des raisons historiques évidentes.
* On doit ces critères d'analyse à l'agent Cathy Prowse de la police de Calgary (Canada), auteur de "Organisations criminelles, reconceptualisation de la "bande" vietnamienne", in La Gazette de la GRC, vol. LVI, n° 7, 1994.
* Les groupes de souche asiatique
Implantés en Amérique
du Nord à partir de 1965, il s'agit surtout des Triades (la mafia chinoise)
et de leurs bandes de rue affiliées et des gangs vietnamiens. Ces organisations
criminelles sont impliquées dans le trafic d'héroïne et de
cocaïne, l'extorsion, les cambriolages, le trafic de migrants, la contrefaçon,
la fraude aux cartes de crédit (de 75 à 90% de cette activité
criminelle au Canada est dû aux organisations asiatiques), la fabrication
de faux, l'intimidation, le jeu, la prostitution et le meurtre. En outre, leurs
membres font couramment usage d'armes automatiques. Les autorités redoutent
actuellement une guerre entre les gangs asiatiques et le motards pour le contrôle
du trafic de drogue dans les établissements pénitentiaires.
Les principales Triades implantées au Canada sont le Kung Lok (400 membres environ) et la 14K (300 membres) mais le Bambou Uni, le Wo Hop To, le Wo Shing Wo et la Sun Yee On sont également présents sur le territoire canadien. Ces deux premières Triades sont associées à des gangs de rue, à savoir : les Big Circles Boys (Dai Huen Jai), le Lotus (Jung Ching), le Viet Ching et les Red Eagles (Gurn Wah).
Les chefs de bandes vietnamiennes ont souvent commencé leur carrière criminelle en s'occupant des maisons de jeux des Triades. Depuis le milieu des années 80, les relations entre vietnamiens et Triades sont ambigües : d'un côté, les gangs vietnamiens cherchent leur indépendance de manière violente et de l'autre, les Triades s'en servent craignant un bouleversement de la situation à l'approche de 1997 et de la rétrocession de Hong-Kong à la Chine.
- Colombie-Britannique : Les gangs qui y sont présents : les Big Circle Boys, le Lotus, les Red Eagles, le Viet Ching, les Flying Dragons (originaires des U.S.A.) et des gangs vietnamiens. En tout, il y a 1.500 membres de gangs asiatiques dans la Province. Ainsi, la ville de Vancouver (population asiatique : 350.000 dont 20.000 vietnamiens, surnommé " Hongcouver ") est devenue un important point d'entrée des immigrants illégaux en Amérique du Nord. Certains mafieux asiatiques ont des liens étroits avec leurs homologues de Californie, spécialisés également dans le trafic de migrants. Les Big Circles Boys est la principale bande et se tourne plus désormais vers la criminalité en col blanc. Le Lotus et les Viet Ching sont associés et versent une "cotisation" aux Big Circle. Les Triades United Bamboo, Wo Hop To, 14K, Kung Lok et Sun Yee On sont également implantées dans la région de Vancouver.
- Alberta : Les bandes asiatiques
sont particulièrement active dans la fraude et la drogue, surtout à
Edmonton et Calgary. Le problème qui se pose le plus dans la communauté
asiatique d'Edmonton (80.000 personnes) est sans aucun doute la loi du silence
et la peur des représailles. Le Kung Lok est établie depuis bientôt
15 ans à Calgary (population asiatique 90.000). Elle comprend une vingtaine
de membres s'intéressant au jeu, à la prostitution, à la
contrebande de cigarettes, à la drogue, aux fraudes aux cartes de crédit
et à la contrebande d'étrangers mais est peu hiérarchisée
et sans structure rigide. Voilà sans doute pourquoi son influence décroit
au profit des Big Circle Boys et de bandes vietnamiennes.
Les Big Circle (moins d'une dizaine de membres) sont associés au jeu, à la fraude aux cartes de crédit, au recel, au vol de voitures et à la contrefaçon. Il y a 3 grandes bandes vietnamiennes à Calgary. La première, sans nom, est arrivée de Toronto à la fin des années 80. Composée d'une trentaine de membres, elle est en contact avec la Kung Lok et les Young Dragons locaux. Aux activités multiples, sa richesse se base néanmoins sur le jeu illégal. La deuxième bande, les Young Dragons, est composée de 15 à 20 membres mais n'a pas de hiérarchie apparente. La dernière, les Devil Boys, a une cinquantaine de membres et ne possède pas non plus de structure véritable. A Edmonton, les gangs vietnamiens (une dizaine) sont de plus en plus actifs dans le domaine de la prostitution.
- Saskatchewan : Les bandes asiatiques sont surtout présentes au sein de leur communauté de Saskatoon et de Regina. Là aussi, activités diverses mais surtout contrebande de cigarettes et trafic d'animaux (notamment les vésicules biliaires d'ours, recherchées dans le Sud-Est asiatique).
- Manitoba : 3 gangs vietnamiens ont été signalés à Winnipeg (population asiatique : 64.000). La première comprend 20 membres, la deuxième 60 et la troisième de 10 à 15 (dont des philippins). Leurs activités sont surtout des faits de violences : rackets, voies de fait, vol,... Il existe également une bande philippine, les Black Web. Les gangs de Winnipeg sont en contact avec le gang Born To Kill de New-York et la Vietnamese Trouble Makers de l'Arizona.
- Ontario : Les fraudes aux cartes
de crédit, les vols à main armée, le racket, le trafic
de migrants, le jeu et la contrebande de cigarettes sont les principales activités
des bandes locales, surtout basées à Toronto (population asiatique
: 450.000 dont 60.000 vietnamiens).
Les Big Circle Boys ont un rôle très important dans l'importation d'héroïne et dans la fabrication de fausses cartes de crédit. Les bandes vietnamiennes sont surtout spécialistes de la contrebande de cigarettes qu'elles achètent aux États-Unis ou à des truands indiens autochtones (Mohawks notamment). De manière épisodique, on a pu voir des hauts responsables des triades Kung Lok, Sun Yee On, Wo Hop To et 14K collaborés. Mais la bande new-yorkaise Born To Kill (BTK), ultraviolente, a été démantelée par la police.
- Québec : Trois bandes de vietnamiens, pour un total d'une centaine de membres, sont présents à Montréal (population asiatique : 80.000 dont 30.000 vietnamiens), de même qu'une nouvelle bande, cambodgienne celle là.
- Maritimes (Nouveau-Brunswick,
Nouvelle-Écosse et Terre-Neuve) : Les activités des gangs asiatiques
y son limitées, mais on a pu noter des opérations de fraude aux
cartes de crédit, notamment par les Big Circle.
La drogue et les états : le Canada, Drogues : l'état de dépendance N°19 - Mai / Juin 1996, http://www.drmcc.org/html/archives/dedd/dedd19/dedd1902.htm
Service canadien de renseignements criminels SCRC - 1999, Crime organisé de souche asiatique COSA, http://www.cisc.gc.ca/AnnualReport1999/Cisc99fr/asie.htm
-, Rapport annuel sur le crime organisé au Canada - 2002, COSA p. 10, http://www.cisc.gc.ca/AnnualReport2002/Document/rapport%20annuel%202002.pdf
UT PCL, Canada (Political) 1999
VIETNAMESE ORGANIZED CRIME. THE CZECH REPUBLIC CASE.
Historical background of Vietnamese immigration
1.a. Cooperation in the framework of the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA)
1.b. First criminal networks
2. Transfers of peoples on/across the Czech territory´in 90s
2.a. Patterns of „legal“ immigration
2.b. Patterns of „illegal“ immigration and transfers of people
2.c. The most active organisations in the C.R. :
2.d. Effect of both types of peoples´transfers („legal“ and „illegal“)
3. Character of Vietnamese crime of the 90s in the C.R.
3.a. Structure of theVietnamese community in the C.R.
3.a.a. Vietnamese community psychology
3.b. „Civilian“ branch
3.c. Uhe criminal branch
3.c.a.„Soldiers“ and „mercenaries“
4. Activities of the Vietnamese Organised Crime in the C.R.
5. Vietnamese - Chinese Crime Relations
6. Vietnamese - Czech Relations
7. Perspectives of the problem
In the 20 years since 1975 numbers of Vietnamese in the European countries have steadily increased. France, where the oldest Vietnamese diaspora in Europe exists, reports 300.000 Vietnamese residents, Germany reports 140.000 Vietnamese residents.There are 80.000 Vietnamese emigrants in Russia, 60.000 – 80.000 in the Czech Republic and s.o.
Most of the Indochinese newcomers have been looking for opportunity to improve their lives and to ensure better furtur for their childrens in new residence countries. However together with them, new types of crime appeared in Europe. Actually, Vietnamese criminal underground lives in specific predator symbiosis with Asian emigrant communities and it is often very difficult to find line between „legal“ and „illegal“ there.
Following study, based on the C.R. experience, essays to analyse structures and „modus operandi“ of the Vietnamese organized crime. In many aspects, the Czech experience is common to many other European countries where the Vietnamese O.C. develops activities.
Historical background of Vietnamese immigration
First-vave emigrees left Viet-Nam in 1975-76 in the period after the end of Indochina war. The second wave is said to begin in 1977, with the greatest number of arrivals being seen in the 1989-1982 time frame.
These people were usually of a background of education and training. They would have suffered drastically under the incoming Communist Regime because of their close ties and loyalties to the South Vietnamese Government and the United States forces, civil and military, in South Viet Nam. Many of these people arrived to the West with funds adequate to establish themselves in business and home purchases. It is essential to understand that a significant portion of these new immigrants were of ethnic Chinese background and speak Chinese. Many of these subjects, the first arrivals, were subsequently to become victims of more recent arrivals.
The second and third contingents of refugees to arrive were peoples of lesser financial and job oriented backgrounds. A number of these fit the pattern of the Chinese immigrant of the mid 1960s. These immigrants were, because of language difficulties, job training and social backgrounds, ill-equipped to survive in western lifestyle. Schools unknowingly and inadequately prepared to accept them, strange and alien customs, fear of lawful authority, and an established community not wishing to allow new faces to penetrate their establishment. Within this setting then was the beginning of gang life that escalated uncontrollably until law enforcement, through education, experience and knowledge, caught up with the situation.
The situation in the former Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and the other communist countries have been different. Emigration of Vietnamese to Czechoslovakia started in 1975 as well. However it was organised by Vietnam and Czechoslovak governments. Thousands of young people were „exported“ to the C.R. in the framework of so called „assistance programme to suffering Viet-Nam“. The reason was simple: Vie-Nam has to pay its war debt to the C.S.S.R. (one of the important suppliers of arms to the north Vietnamese army) through this way. In these early days we can observe the birth of the vietnamese organised crime operations on the C.R. territory, the birth of first criminal networks. To understand actual role of Vietnamese in the Czech criminal world we must go back to the history of mutual relations between the C.R. and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
1.a. Cooperation in the framework of the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA)
In the course of the Indochina war, former Czechoslovak Socialist Republic was one of main sources of weapons and miliraty materials for the North Vietnamese army and the Viet - Cong. (The plastic explosive SEMTEX widely used by terrorists over the world has been developed by Czech company Synthesia Semtín on the base of Vietnamese order in the 1964 as well - it was the analogy of the American plastic explosive C4). It created huge Vietnamese debt bigger part of which has been never covered.
Shortly after the war, economic and political relations between the two countries grew in importance in the framework of the CMEA. Czechoslavakia have exported industrial goods and investment complexes to Vietnam in exchange for raw materials and agriculture products. On stipendiums of Ústredního výboru Komunistické strany Ceskoslovenska (the Central Committee of the Czechoslovak Communist Party), Ústrední rady odboru (the Central Trade Union Council) and the Czechoslovak government approximately 500 Vietnam students has been prepared in 7 study centres for studium at the Czech secondary schools and universities per year.
At the beginning of 80s, the Vietnam government in effort to pay its war debts and fulfill gap in export-import relations started export Vietnam labour force to the CSSR. Young Vietnamese, usually of the age of 18 - 20 (so not the former soldiers in course of Indochina war as is it frequently presented in the Western press) recieved basic language and professional education in the initial phase in Vietnam lasting between 3 and 6 months and then were transported to the CSSR where they continued in language studies another 3-6 months. Followingly, they were distributed from the study centers to the textil, chemical and industrial factories and agriculture cooperatives across the Czechoslovak territory (Ústí nad Orlicí, Liberec, Ostrava, Zlín etc.). They contracts lasted usually 4 years (sometimes prolonged to 7 years). They professional education have continued on new places according to the requirements of their employers.
First waves of students and workers were composed by carefully selected young peoples with communist background, members of the communist youth organisation and the communist party. They were nearly exclusively of the North and Central Vietnamese origin (Son La, Dienbienphu, Hanoi, Langson, Haiphong etc.) - from areas under longtime communist influence. Especially in the second half of 80s, the „quality“ of workers have gradually declined because of small interest of „volonteers“ and selection became formal. Some rumours have circulated at the time that Vietnam police is collecting new „volunteers“ among juvenile deliquents on the Hanoi and Saigon streets.
Although official figures about numbers of Vietnamese workers have been never published, it is estimated that between 70 000 - 120 000 of young Vietnamese crossed through the system of „voluntary labour“ in the CSSR in course of 80s (more than 20 000 were living at the C.R territory in each moment within the period of 1980 - 1989) .Part of them established themselves very well in Czechoslovakia, married local girls and have learned Czech language perfectly. These people became base for new wave of immigrants coming to the C.R after 1989.
1.b. First criminal networks
Vietnamese workers in the former CSSR have recieved directly only 40-50% of their real wages. The rest of money was partly exchanged into dongs and paid them in the form of special bonus after comeback home; bigger part was used by government to „cover workers´ travel expenses“, respectively to cover Vietnam foreign debt. As a result, the level of life of the Vietnamese workers was not too high. Consequently, lot of them have looked for additional incomes. The main sources of the incomes were predominantly two:
· manufacture of jeans and clothes from domestic materials,
· imports of goods (especially watches and cheap electronics) from Asia.
The formerly small scale enterprening accelerated at the moment, when workers´ groups supervisers and employees of the Vietnam embassy in Prague entraced in the business. According to the eye-witness interwieved in the February 1998, special airplanes landed at the Prague Old Ruzyne Airport (used for receptions of foreign delegations. military purposes etc.) loaded with the Asian goods in the second half of 80s. Under supervision of the Vietnam embassy employees. The goods were immediately reloaded into camions and transported out of the airport without any contact with the Czech customs. After several days, they apperared on the black market. The Czech government and security forces have closed eyes over the transactions becouse of political reasons. First black trade networks between Asian countries (Tai-wan, Singapore, Hongkong, Indonesia etc.) producing cheap goods - predominantly jeans and electronics of fake marks - and Prague via Hanoi have been established. The 1989 revolution opened doors for farther acceleration of the trade.
2. Transfers of peoples on/across the Czech territory´in 90s
2.a. Patterns of „legal“ immigration
After the 1989 „Velvet revolution“ in Czechoslovakia the situation on the Czech labour force market has dramatically changed. The interest of the transforming Czech industry and agriculture in Vietnamese workers sharply declined. On the base of foregoing agreements, some students and workes were envoyed to the C.R. until 1992 but new contracts were not concluded.
With the end of their contracts, the workers were pressed to return home. In fact majority of them decided to stay in the Czechoslovakia or emigrate to the Western countries. The time was favorable for them - immigration laws weak in socially transiting country, police and security forces partly paralysed. According to the Czech law, it was very easy to arrange business licence and obtain permanent residence permit on the base of it. The gap in immigration laws allowed many contract workers avoid the return to Vietnam and create business companies at the C.R. It also attracted new wave of economic refugees from Vietnam going to the C.R. on turist visa (issued without problems by the Czech Embassy in Hanoi), and arranging business licences usually with assistance of „old settlers“. The „Old settlers“ have been ensuring also permanent adresses necessary for the acquiring of B.L. for newcomers (there was discovered small suburban house of 3 rooms in Prague serving as permanent adress for 60 „companies“) and recieving permanent residence permit. The clerks never asked about type of visa.
When this type of immigration started to attract uncorfontable attention of security services, the strategy was partly changed: the companies of „old settlers“ and members of the „first new wave“ have started to serve as base for the „second new wave“ of emigrees. The dominant immigration pattern is following in these days:
The owner of Vietnamese or Chinese company (sometimes Czech company) will announce in the business register the name of his new „business partner“ from Vietnam. The new emigree arrives to the C.R. on the base of official invitation of the company and obtaines residence permit on the base of partnership. Then he creates new company and invites new „business partners“. Actually, together with the non-organized „invitation movement“ based on a family and territorial ties with homeland, we have been facing strong „legal“ immigration organised by professional groups. It was discovered that some Asian companies (often not developing any activities) in the C.R. have tens of „partners“. The number of new emigrés substantially grew from the moment, when some Czech private lawers started to engage in lucrative work for Asians.
Another variety is: Vietnamese or Chinese factory at the C.R „invites“ Vietnamese workers (the amout is usually limited by business licence) and then the workers „disappeare“. In 1997, from 100 workers imported from Vietnam to a textile factory in Moravian town Zlín, 98 of them „disappeared“ directly from the airport after airplain landing. Probably, they were distributed to the illegal factories and manufactures or transferred ilegally to the West.
According to the police information, the price for transfer from Hanoi to Prague is ranging between 1000 - 5000 USD in dependency on the amount of „services“ given.
Another pattern are fake marriages with the Czech citizens. The price of marriage is ranging between 30 000 - 150 000 Czech krowns (CZK) and is highly valued because of the posibility to recieve the Czech citizenship, eg. the Czech travel passport allowing access to the West European countries without visas.
2.b. Patterns of „illegal“ immigration and transfers of people
Dominant patterns of Vietnamese transfers to the C.R. are based on exploiting of gaps in the Czech legal system.So they are principally „legal“. In the case of following transfer to the Western countries, where immigration laws are stronger, the transfer continues on illegal principles:
1. using of counterfeit documents - counterfeit visas; stolen, buyed and followingly adapted passports of the Western countries (in the C.R.frequently Belgian), the „banana republic“ (for ex. Peruvian ) and s.o. The circulation of passports when one documet (mailed back by DHL and other air companies) is used after small adaptation several times is also numerous.
2. smuggling across the „green line“ ( illegal crossings of borders)
· Czech „guider“ working for a Vietnamese smugglers´ gang or Vietnamese „guider“ leads group of immigrants to the vicinity of border and shows them direction where to go. In the case of bigger groups, the „guider“ lead sthem across the line. Cooperating partners are waiting on the other side. The price for transfer from the C.R. to Germany is ranging between 500 - 1000 USD.
2.c. The most active organisations in the C.R. :
Eastern Branch Group
Very active network organising smuggling of people from Vietnam, China through Moscow, Prague, Northern Czechland town Most to Germany and France (second center in Paris).
Middle Vietnam Group
Based in town Hradec Králové.
2.d. Effect of both types of peoples´transfers („legal“ and „illegal“)
· The Czech Foreign Police Department approved 3407 permanent residence permits of Vietnam citizens in the 1995; in the 1997, it was 17 620 permanent residence permits of Vietnam citizens. According to the police estimations, real number of Vietnamese residents in the C.R. will be 2 times higher.
· It is estimated that approximately 10 000 Vietnamese crossed illegaly the Czech Republic territory to Germany in the course of the 1990s.
3. Character of Vietnamese crime of the 90s in the C.R.
Legal and illegal activities of the newcomers are going hand by hand. It is often necessary to analyse certain activity as whole in first etape and then separate sphere of criminal activities in second etape. „Legal“ and „illegal“ is living in dialectical unity in Vietnamese communities. It is sometimes very difficult to separe it on the base of European norms, European legal system.
Lot of these activities are just black cubes in the complicated mosaic of Vietnamese community life. It is impossible find their roots without understanding of structure, function mechanisms and culture of Vietnamese communities abroad.
3.a. Structure of theVietnamese community in the C.R.
We ca register two branches in the life of Vietnamese community in the C.R. - legal and criminal. On the end of one stays street dealer of goods, on the end of the second juvenile deliquent, member of violent gang. Both these branches are touching in the person of the „boss“ or „honored man“ of the society. The branches are not isolated. Lot of bridges and temporary contacts exist between them. They are living in atmosphere of mutual communication. We can characterise Vietnamse system as „younger“ or more primitive brother of Chinese tongs in many aspects. Actually, it is quickly developing and improving its organisational structure.
3.a.a. Vietnamese community psychology
In the Vietnamese language there is no exact equivalent for the personal pronoun „I“ included in all Western languages. The Vietnamese toi, often conventialy translated as „I“ is more clasically rendered as „subject“, as in „subject of the King. According to the American criminologist William L. Cassidy, this image is evoked to underscore the powerful idea that a traditional Vietnamese considers himself not as an independent individual but as a component in a system of relationships: as a member of the family, or the village, or in the case of criminals, a member of the gang. The Vietnamese observer Le Xuan Khoa tells us: „The tendency of Indochinese refugees to cluster together and to form community organisations can be traced back to a traditional pattern common to all agrarian societes in Southeast Asia“ - and we can add that not only Asia, mentioning strong clan and tribal feeling of African and Arab communities abroad mirrored in the structure of their criminal societies. Le Xuan Khoa notes that individualism, which is in a sense is the foundation of Western, especially American society is to a Veitnamese: ...something inconceivable, because his primary sense of identity is so indissolubly a component within a broader, collective ego structure“ the totality of a family or societal unity. „Being cut off from their families, villages and countries,“ writes le, „Indochinese refugees feel an urgent need to cluster together and to form community organisations as secondary sources of security.“ This urgent need, stemming from what some writers call the „village mentality,“ definitely extends the criminal fringe - resp. is foundation not only of Vietnamese communities in Europe but foundation of every Vietnamese criminal society, criminal gang. We can stress, that function and co-existence of the „civilian“ and criminal branches is based on the Vietnamese „village mentality“ transferred to the Western cultural space.
3.b. „Civilian“ branch
The street dealer of goods, the cooker or waiter in a Vietnamese or Chinese restaurant, the worker in legal/illegal manufacture is a man on the bottom of Vietnamese emigrant hierarchy. There exists clearly visible differences among the members of lowest level.
The new emigree needs substantial amount of money for transfer to the C.R. through legal or illegal channel and establishing himself in the country. For exemple: the new emigree - street seller has to cover minimaly his airplane ticket, expenses connected with accomodation, residence permit, business licence, buing of commodities sold etc. Together with transfer (the prices quoted above) and covering of all „official expenses“ the street seller has to pay serial of „black taxes“ as well. For exemple: in a small Czech city Lysá nad Labem, a seller has to pay tax for selling place paralelly to the city council and to the chief of Vietnamese gang controlling the Lysá nad Labem´s territory (approximately 5-10 times higher amount of money). In frequented Prague emporium at quarter Modrany he has to pay for place to the official renter, approximately 1000 USD „entrace payment“ to the middleman between him and the chief of the company, and again substantial amount of money „for protection“ to the Vietnamese bosses controlling the Modrany territory.
The price is substantially lower if the emigree is able to arrange it independently with assistance of family member etc. living permanently in the C.R. and escalates in the case of transfer organised by peoples´smuggler organisation. My estimations are ranging between 3 - 7 000 USD needed for whole immigration operation.. Basically, a new emigree has two possibilities to cover the expenses: to collect money with help of his family members living in Vietnam and abroad - and it is not easy in the country with yearly incomes lower than 150 USD per head (moreover - the economic emigrees are usually going from poorest parts of Vietnam). Second possibility is travel „on debt“. The emigree is transferred to the country, where he has to work for certain time and very low salary for the Vietnamese bosses as street seller, worker in restaurant, illegal manufacture and s.o. The conditions of these half-slave contracts are usually very though. The contracts are often lasting several years. If the streat sellers are not able to pay their mortgages regularly, the bosses are seizing their goods. If this is not enough, other types of pressure follow - beating, raping of women, kidnapping of children, finally - assasination. Under such pressure, often in effort to cover his debts, lot of emigrees are turning attention to the more lucrative activities behind the line of law - trafficking in drugs, weapons, cigarettes... or service for criminal groups.
It is very easy to distingush between sellers „on debt“ and independent sellers on the markets. The sellers „on debt“ have not so much goods, are working longer, occupying not so lucrative (and expensive) places, selling smuggled goods etc.. The independent sellers and businessmen - mostly former quest workers of socialist era who stayed at the C.R. territory and started business activities, independent emigrees and emigrees with covered „debts“ - have been creating middle class of the Vietnamese community in the C.R. Typical for many of them is that they have been serving as base for another Vietnamese immigrants - members of their families, villages, newcomers from their native districts at the moment, when they achieve middle level of life and moreless independent social status. They have been starting financial support of theirs families in Vietnam as well. In the ligh of these facts, collection of money and envoying young boys and women to the West looks like „investment to the future“ from the side of families and village communities in Vietnam. In the C.R., we are actually enregistering tendency of establishing business companies and special-interest groups composed of members of same family clans or territorial origin - natives from same provinces.
Mid-level businessmen are gradually enlarging their activities becoming sometimes wealthy men and in several cases „bosses“ and „financiers“.
Men at the top
Profile of a top boss:
X is a middle aged graduate of a Czech university with PhD. degree and owner of the exclusive rastaurant in Prague. His connections reach up to the circles of the Czech economic elite (where he is considered to be serious and skilfull businessman) and political-economic elite in Vietnam as well. He started his studies at the C.R. on government stipendium during communist era. After 1989, he stayed at the C.R and entraced to the business employing his former university professor (woman) as an assistant. At the beginning of the 90s, he was imprisoned for illegal cigarettes dealing together with his friend Y - last Vietnamese chairman of the leftist International Student Federation. The both menwere liberated because of lack of proofs. Y returned to Vietnam where he became member of a political elite. He has lead the Vietnam delegation no negotiations with the U.S.A. about normalisation of relations and has been one of leading persons of the Vietnam diplomatic mission in ASEAN.
X is able to communicate with the Czech offices on one side and has close contacts with Vietnamese and Chinese underworld. He is organising import and distribution of goods to the C.R. and immigration from China and Vietnam. In many cases, he was suspected to work as „banker“ and financier of illegal activities. X is frequently travelling across the East-Central European Countries and to Austria and Germany. He is „honorable man“ ensuring transfers of money to Vietnam and „respectable man“ with great power working as arbiter of quarrels. He is considered to be a person able to find solution of any problem by members of Vietnamese community in the C.R. Lot of them are grateful to him.
Indochinese „village mentality“ pattern is based on superstition, that emigrees community´s internal mechanisms are able to bring solution of problems more quickly and efficiently than communication with security forces of a guest coutry. Police in the C.R. is often meeting with affirmation: „Dont worry, we will liquidate the problem ourselves“, from the side of Vietnamese community members in course of criminal investigation. In most cases, it is true.
Mechanism of solution of a problem is usually following: a damaged man is turning on a or on a „respectable man“ with request for help. It can be boss to whom is he paying a „defence tax“ or some other important person - not exclusively Vietnamese, but powerful chief of a Chinese tong as well and s.o. The „respectable man“ would be able to help him in exchange for „eternity“ expressed financially, in services or, in many cases, morally with expectation of possible „counterservice“ to a „respectable man“.
Not only economic pressure and expected profit, but also solidarity born from „village mentality“ and complicated network of mutual „eternities“ are basic motors of engagement of many Vietnamse emigrees basically withouth criminal background in many criminal activities. Rejection of „counterservice“ to a respectable man is not frequent in Vietnamese communities.
It is not question of a wealth only to become „respectable man“ in Vietnamese community. It is question of real power as well. „Respectable man“ must dispose sufficient power to enforce his authority in cases of quarrels, arbitrages, small violent wars - any problems connected with the life of Vietnamese community in the C.R. It is why he is in frequent contact with criminal underground. R.M. does not necesserily employ contract killers and neforcers for dirty work - in most cases, they have personal guardians only - but thanks to his contacts he is usually able to rent them for contcrete „special“ work. It is more efficient, safer and cheaper then to maintain own „soldiers“. Ii is also one of important reasons, why the police investigation of Vietnamese violent crime is difficult bacause of usually unclear relations between „soldiers“ in the field, resp. men directly connected with a concrete crime and the interests and „bosses“ staying behind the crime. The indirect connection is the reason why why a person of „respectable man“ can merge together features of the man honoured in Vietnamese community and features of a criminal boss.
There exists evident cooperation between big importers of goods and violent gangs engaged in racket activities in the C.R.- racketeers are requiring higher „taxes for defence“ in cases, when street sellers are offering their goods for too low prices. It is the main reason, why the prices of Asian goods sold are approximately same on the all C.R. territory. Gang´s racket activities are integral part of the anti-dumping strategy of big Vietnamese and Chinese businessmen.
Vietnamese community in the C.R. is relatively young. It is probably why the role of „respectable men“ are criminal bosses connected with racket of emigrees frequently playing. Actually, as in the case of X, we are enregistering efforts of the most important bosses to separate themselves from direct connections with open criminal activities, to work more as „financiers“ and „bankers“ of concrete criminal operations, to present themselves as successfull businessmen in relation to the Czech community and as the „respectable men“ in relation to the Vietnamese community. Although the structre is not wholly developped and the mutual relations are not so clear and visible in the Vietnamese community as in the Chinese, there exists lot of similarities between Vietnamese „respectable men“ and the heads of Chinese Tongs - Triads.
The role of various criminal deliquents and violent gangs in the scheme of Vietnamese community life and the roots of the „tolerance“ in relation to them is clearly visible in the ligh of these facts.
3.c. Uhe criminal branch
3.c.a.„Soldiers“ and „mercenaries“
The criminal deliquents stays on the bottom of the Vietnamese criminal hierarchy. They are usually developing independent criminal activities as robberies, extortion, „home invasions“ etc. together with „special“ work as contract killers and enforcers for the Vietnamese, Chinese and other criminal bosses.They are recruited from the enviroment of deliquents penetrating to the C.R. from Vietnam through immigration channels from the 80s. Another source are are countries of Eastern and Western Europe and America. We are meeting with certain „principle of circulation“ in connection to them. When for some deliquent the soil in some country becomes „too hot“ and his face too known, he is changing the country of residence - often with „recommentation“ for a criminal boss in a new country - contacts between criminal groups in various countries are numerous. The „soldiers“ are able to disappear from the country of residence in few hours (including liquidation of all proofs of their activities, „cleaning up“ of flats etc.) in case of unconfortable interest of police investigators. Some of them have been changing country of residence several times in course of their „career“. It is also frequent to hire Vietnamese „soliders“ (mainly contract killers) for terminated „special work“ abroad.
The „circulation“ is not typical for single persons only but gor Vietnamese criminal gangs as well.
Gang is: „... any ongoing organisation, association, or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, having as one of its primary activities the comission of one or more of the criminal acts ..., which has a common name or common identifying sign or symbol, whose members individually or collectively engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity.“ (Penal Code of the State of California).
The gangs are often identified with Vietnamese organised crime as whole. It is not simply true. They are just (most violent) part of it. Their structure and activities also varies from groups exclusively specialized on acts of violence to groups engaged in „criminal business activities“. In all cases, paraziting on Vietnamese communities is common to them.
Vietnamese gangs in the C.R. are highly mobile; gang members are often travelling interstate. They are generally less organised but highly violent and involved in a wide range of criminal activities - extortion, theft, contract killing, smuggling of people, drugs. The gangs have from 3 to 20 members in age between 14 and 35 years. With exeption of „Czech Vietnamese“, they have little knowledge of language, have not families in majority but were very skillful in using of weapons. They know very well the world of Vietnamese community in the C.R. whose members are often goal of their criminal „interest“.
Territorially, we can diferentiate three types of Vietnamese gangs operation on the Czech territory:
· gangs created by „local“ Vietnamese who are living in the C.R. for longer time and new immigrants to the C.R from Vietnam
· gangs coming from the U.S.A. and the Western countries (Germany)
· gangs coming from the post-communist countries (Russia, Ukraine).
There are approximately 10-15 Vietnamese gangs operating on the C.R. territory actually.
Violent gangs (Three types of violent gangs)
1) Black Sons´ Group
Black Son is former Vietnamese worker who came to the C.R at the second half of the 80s (probably 1988-1989). He obtained permanent residence permit on the base of marriage with Gipsy girl and has child with her. He is wearing expensive clothes and driving good car. His group of Vietnamese deliquents (not more than 10 persons) is active in large spectrum of violent criminal activities typical for Vietnamese gangs. He is not developing any business activities. At the beginning of 90s, the Black Son´s gang emigrated to Germany and have „worked“ in France killing on contract for Chinese bosses.. When the police pressure started to be too high in 1995, the gang immigrated back to the C.R. Black Son was seized by the Czech Police and sentenced to prison. Part of members of his gang probably created new group and rest of them dispersed to other Vietnamese gangs operating in the C.R.
Black Sons´s gang competitor in the C.R. is Nguyen Van Hien´s group. It is one of most agressive gangs composed of approximately 10 persons. The gang operates across the whole territory of the C.R. The gang is most active in Prague.
The Black Sons´s and Nguyen Van Hien´s gangs are typical examples of groups specialized exclusively in violent crime. They are not connected to a specific territory or another type of criminal „business“. If they are developing activities in this sphere, they have just occasional and temporary character.
The animosity between violent gangs is not typical in Vietnamese underground in the C.R. Usually, the gangs´ members are in friendy or minimaly peaceful connections allowing them to immigrate to another gang if their own gang is liquidated by police.
2) Flying Dragoons
Flying Dragoons group represents more developed violent gang engaged in criminal business.
The gang has been probably organised by one or more former members of American Flying Dragoons operationg in the New York´s Chinatown who immigrated to the C.R. They are Viet Chings and are frequently working for Chinese. The gang has created network of small subgroups distributed across the Czech territory: - one member of FD is operating in Cheb, town situated near of the Czech-German border, another in Varnsdorf, Prague etc. All the gang´s members have organised small groups controlling certain territories and paraziting on Vietnamese and Chinese merchants.
3) Japanese Red Army
The Japanese Red Army is formerly Japan terrorist organisation which is actually developping activities across the world. A chief of one terrorist cell - ethnic Pole trained in the U.S.A. - and possibly some of his „comrades“ have transferred to the C.R. in 1997 (Pole´s brother is longtime resident in the country). The Red Army group is composed mostly of Viet Chings. In effort to collect money, the group started to perform „dirty work“ for Chineses. It is connected with several killing on the territory of town Most. Highly dangerous.
Gangs in „business“
Typical representants of this group are gangs engaged in smuggling of goods and people to Western Europe. The gangs of this type are not dominantly violent although they are not hesitating to use force. is engagement in some special type of activities and frequent work on temporary contract for bigger Asian groups or criminal bosses is typical for them.
Vuong Van Vu´s gang is biggest of them. The gang has immigrated to the C.R. across Slovakia. Middle Vietnam Group (the nickname given to the group by the Czech police) is engaged together with smuggling of peoply in organised prostitution etc. It is based in the West Czech town Karlovy Vary. The Khac Dan´s group have worked for long time on contract for Eastern Branch Group (quoted above) as part of the smuggler´s chain specialized on illegal transfer of people from the C.R. to Germany.
4. Activities of the Vietnamese Organised Crime in the C.R.
We can differ following types of Vietnamese criminal activities:
Smuggling of people
Specialised on the members of Asian community (mostly Vietnamese and Chinese). Actual trend is to enlarge numbers of „clients“ - smuggling of refugees from the Central Asia, Southern Asia and the Balkans.
Smuggling and distribution of goods
Jeans and another types of clothing, electronic goods, cigarettes, shoes of fake marks from China, Southeastern Asia, India, Turkey etc. Imported in containers by trains or by bouats to Labe river port in Melník. Chinese are usually top bosses. Vietnamese are working on lowel levels of organisation or as street sellers.
Racketeering, extortion, kidnapping, enforcement activities including contract killing
„Dirty work“ realized frequently by Vietnamese for Vietnamese, Chinese etc. criminal bosses
Frequent in relation to the new emigrees.
Stealing of goods
Gangs and small groups of deliquents activities.
Trade with people, prostitution
Prostitution is not frequent, some groups, mostly restricted on Asian community. Trade with people - connected with transfers „on debt“ and illegal work in the C.R. - frequent.
Counterfeit activities (credit cards, passports and documents)
Connected with illegal transfers of people and economic crime. Vietnamese are very skillfull.
Trafficking in weapons
Illegal transfer of Czech weapons for Asian organised crime groups in Leipzig (Germany) enregistered. Relatively new phenomenon.
Frequent - connected with violation of custom´s and tax laws, money laundering in casinos, rastaurant, in course of illegal financial operations etc. Transfers of money from the C.R. to Asia:
· peoples travelling with big amounts of money in cash (usually money envoyed by emigrees to their relatives in Vietnam). Very dangerous because of specialized „ducks´ hunters“ - Vietnamese and Chinese gangs of thieves operating on airports in Prague, Moscow and Hanoi,
· transferring of money through export-import companies and „honored“ men - banker, when a „client“ puts money to the hands of certain person in the C.R. and his relatives will obtain equivalent of the sume (minus rabat) from person´s companion or confident in Hanoi, Saigon, etc.,
· mailing of huge amounts of money (in some cases more than million CZK daily) from private accounts to the banks in Vietnam. Money are declared as presents.
Trafficking in drugs
The number drug addicts is steadily increasing among members of Vietnamese community in the C.R. Gangs´soldiers, workers, street sellers under social pressure are turning their attention to drugs. From the beginning of 90s, we have been enregistering growing engagement of Vietnamese in drug trade in relation to this phenomenon. Some former street sellers of goods and workers have turned attention to the drug business as a rich source of incomes. Although the Chinese-Vietnamese drug activities are still suppressed by competition of other, mainly Balkan and Arab traffickers in drugs, their activities are accelerating.
5. Vietnamese - Chinese Crime Relations
It is frequently presented, that Vietnamese are able to perform „dirty work“ for Chinese organised crime only. It is only partly true. Chinese immigrants - and the Chinese organised crime (Triads-Tongs) followingly - have started to employ Vietnamese at the beginning of 90s. Beijing, Fujian and Wenchu Triads-Tongs are most active in the C.R. actually. Chinese are employing Vietnamese mainly in three spheres of their „business“:
· as interpreters, middlemen and „specialists“ on the C.R.
· as dealers of goods
· as „dirty work“ servicemen.
Gradually, Vietnamese entraced to the big business. Although srtucture of their groups is not so hierarchized and strong as in Chinese Triads´ case, we are enrigestering still more and more Vietnamese top criminal bosses and groups operating independently and organising own vaste criminal networks. In many aspects, they are copying succesfull Chinese model of Tongs. They are not „lackeys“ of Chinese organised crime only, they are becoming „partners“ of it, partners expressing strong national feeling.
According to the intelligence information from Vietnamese community in the C.R., Chinese and Vietnamesse bosses met in Budapest or Moscow 4 - 5 years ago to agree on principles of mutual co-existence. On the base of the agreements about „spheres of interests“, the Vietnamese recieved „monopoly“ on street selling of goods, smuggling of people from the C.R. to the West and were allowed to develop business in sphere of hotels and restaurants.
At the end of 1997 and beginning of 1998, Chinese expressed interest to share profits from lucrative illegal activities on the western Czech - German border dominated by Vietnamese. Mutual tensions lead into several killings in the West Czechland and Chinese threat to burn biggest Vietnamese market in Prague - Modrany. The contention was terminated on the meeting of Chinese and Vietnamese bosses in Prague.
6. Vietnamese - Czech Relations
Czech citizens are working as drivers, „hot“ goods keepers, lawers, assistants, partners in business for Vietnamese. Lot of „shadow wives“are usually in contact with their Vietnam houseband (even they are not living together sexually) and are sponsored in course of the marriage-they share part of profits, participates as a partner in the „business“ or are paid on the base concrete services. The life of Vietnamese community in the C.R. is concerned around big markets and business centers. Attempts to create „Chinatowns“ in the C.R. were not successfull until now. Vietnamese immigrants have big distrust of the Czech offices and security forces highly relying on internal social mechanisms of problems´solution. There are several Asian restaurants in Prague, where Czech guests are not attended or - if the guest is, or is suspected to be police agent (restaurants´ personnel know faces of lot of policemen in Prague) - other visitors of the restaurants quickly disappear.
On the other hand, Vietnamese criminal bosses are able to skilfully utilise police forces in specific cases:
In 1995, ethnic Chinese S. G. Y., appeared on the Czech police station in Prague with announcement that several his „friends“ were kidnapped by Vietnamese K. D. gang. Thanks to his prague contacts, S. G. Y. knew adresses of the places, where the kidnapped people were inprisoned. It were two houses and one appartement in Prague. The Czech police attacked the places and succeeded liberate all the people. K. D. was later sentenced to prison. S. returned to Moscow and kidnapped people together with all witnesses disappeatred from the hotels, where they were temporary accomodated after the police action. It was later discovered that S. G. Y. is a chief of the Eastern Branch Group specialized in smuggling of people to the Europe and kindnapped people were his „clients“. K. D. group have ensured for him on contract transfers of refugees across the Czech-German border. Because of uncovered debt from the side of S. G. Y. , K. D. seized one group of refugees as hostages and have threated to liquidate them or to pass them to the hands of Czech police. S. G. Y. did not have sufficient amount of money required and his smuggler´s credit was threatened. So he employed Czech police as means of his problem´s solution.
Similarly, Vietnamese residents in the C.R turned on the Czech police with announcement that their countrymen are seized in Moscow as hostages. The Czech police contacted colleagues in Moscow who - again on the base of information coming from Vietnamese community in Moscow - liberated the hostages who immediately disappeared together with all witnesses and the case was deposed „ad acta“.
7. Perspectives of the problem
According to the intelligence reports from the Asian community, strong immigration waves from Asia to the Central Europe is expected. Houses and plots have been purchased by Asian traders in expectation of the new immigrants from Vietnam, Tai-wan, China, Korea etc.. It is expected that there will be more than 100 000 residents of Asian origin in the C.R. at the beginning of new century. It is a great opportunity for Asian organised crime, including the Vietnamese, to escalate its activities in the C.R and across Europe. Asian criminal bosses are calculating with joining of the C.R to the E.U. and fell of border restrictions. They are building bridge-head for future expansion to the E.U. countries in the C.R. actually.
What is possible to consider to be positive in development of Czech - Vietnamese (emigrees´) relations, it is the tendency of growning number of Vietnamese immigrants to adapt themselves in the Czech environment. The immigrants are attempting to isolate themselves of criminal networks (although lot of them came to the C.R. through illegal channels and have cooperated with them for some time), to pay state taxes, to send children to Czech schools, to create permanent home for theirs families in the C.R. These people and their interest in communication with Czech environment represent chance of efficient Vietnamese crime´s reduction in the C.R.
Europa, Ceska Republika
UT PCL, Czech Republic (Political) 1994
25 October 2002, Volume 2, Number 38
ORGANIZED CRIME IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
The first organized crime groups in the Czech Republic were Vietnamese gangs. Operating mainly within the 60,000-80,000 large Vietnamese community in the Czech Republic, these gangs first established themselves in 1975-76 when the first wave of Vietnamese emigrants came to communist Czechoslovakia as a labor force sent by the new communist government in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) as a method of repaying the large wartime debt owed to Czechoslovakia from the Vietnam War. The 1975 Vietnamese wave of immigration was followed by two others, one in 1977 and in 1979-1982.
The 10-15 Vietnamese gangs operating in the Czech Republic are organized into groups following one charismatic leader (this can also be a "respectable man" in the community) who serves as both a person who can communicate with Czech authorities and as an arbiter of quarrels among different groups. In other cases, the leader can be someone like Black Son, a former Vietnamese worker who came to the Czech Republic in the mid-80s and organized a group of some 10 people for violent criminal activity. The Black Son gang is still active. It is not connected to any specific territory and is a typical "flying gang" similar to Vietnamese gangs in California and Texas in the United States. The gang is known for violent crimes and is used by Chinese gangs as enforcers.
A different version is the "business gang," which is involved in smuggling goods and people from Central Asia and Southeast Asia to Western Europe, including women for prostitution. The largest gang of this type is the Vuong Van Vu based in Karlovy Vary.
The Vietnamese groups are also involved in money laundering, casinos and restaurants, as well as in drugs and extortion of money from Vietnamese merchants. Most of the so-called "Vietnamese markets" in the Czech Republic have a mob presence and most merchants tend to pay "taxes" to these gangs for "protection." As is common in the U.S. and in Western Europe, members of the Vietnamese communities tend not to seek help from the local police and prefer to pay gangs the protection money they demand.
Most Vietnamese gangs allow
only Vietnamese members, but recently there have been instances of Vietnamese
working together with Czechs in smuggling operations. Thus on 10 October the
Czech customs service confiscated 9 million smuggled cigarettes and arrested
three smugglers, CTK reported on 15 October. Had the shipment gone through,
the Czech government would have lost some 16 million crowns ($506,000). The
shipment was confiscated from a truck driven by a Czech national who was being
accompanied by a Slovak and a Vietnamese citizen. Customs officials said the
cigarettes originated in China and were destined for a Slovak firm. The shipment
was labeled as shoes. German police took part in the operation.
PRAGUE 2-6 - Một tổ chức gồm 6 người Việt Nam trong tổ chức buôn phụ nữ đã bị lực lượng cảnh sát chống tôi phạm băng đảng bắt giữ cách đây 3 tuần lễ, theo lời nữ phát ngôn viên Blanka Kosinova của Sở Cảnh Sát Prague.
Theo nguồn tin này, 3 người đàn ông và 3 người phụ nữ Việt Nam đã bị truy tố về tội buôn phụ nữ phục vụ kỹ nghệ mãi dâm, dẫn mối và làm thương tổn đạo đức của các người trẻ tuổi.
Một trong các nghi can bị thương khi bị bắt giữ. Sở Thanh Tra của Bộ Nội Vụ phụ trách cuộc điều tra và truy tố.
Cuộc điều tra cho thấy các nghi can đã dụ các cô gái đến từ Việt Nam với các lời xảo trá là họ sẽ kiếm rất nhiều tiền. Chẳng hạn, họ được hứa cho làm nghề uốn tóc và có người lo cho họ giấy phép hành nghề.
Nhưng khi đến nơi, họ bị ép bán dâm với các lời đe dọa là phải trả trước cho tốn phí di chuyển và giấy tờ lên đến 8,000 đô la cho mỗi người.
“Vì các cô gái không có cách nào để tự mưu sinh, họ bị ép buộc phải bán thân”. Konisova nói.
Các cô gái Việt Nam phải làm việc ở các hộp đêm trong các thành phố Cheb, Tây Bohemia, Prague và Brno, Nam Moravia. Theo tin cảnh sát, họ được trả công từ 1,000 đến 2,000 tiền địa phương cho mỗi “phi vụ” nhưng toàn thể số tiền đều do bọn ma đầu nắm giữ.
Nhóm người trên chỉ huy tất cả 15 cô gái Việt Nam, trong đó có một cô chưa tới 18 tuổi.
Khi xét nhà của những người cầm đầu kể trên, cảnh sát tìm thấy một số điện thoại di động, thẻ điện thoại trẻ trước và số tiền ngoại tệ của nhiều nước khác nhau tính ra khoảng 700,000 tiền địa phương.
Cả 6 người kể trên đều đang bị giam và có thể bị án tù đến 8 năm nếu bị xác nhận tội buôn bán phụ nữ
Klaus von Lampe, The Nicotine Racket. Trafficking in Untaxed Cigarettes: A Case Study of Organized Crime in Germany
The Concept of Organized Crime: Definition vs. Model
The Trafficking in Untaxed Cigarettes and Organized Crime in Germany: An Overview
The Sale of Untaxed Cigarettes
The Smuggling and Wholesale Distribution of Untaxed Cigarettes
The Extortion of Vietnamese Street Vendors
Conclusion: The Illegal Cigarette Trade in Germany from the Point of View of a General Theory of Organized Crime
The Extortion of Vietnamese Street Vendors
The victimization of Vietnamese Street Vendors: An Overview
The trafficking in untaxed cigarettes is a profitable business down to the street level. The profit margin for street vendors, according to various sources, ranges from 2 to 10 Deutsche Marks per carton of 200 cigarettes. One street vendor interviewed by a journalist in 1995 reported that at lucrative spots up to 600 cartons could be sold in a single day for a profit of 2 to 4 Marks each while less attractive vending places were still good for selling 10 to 20, sometimes 100 cartons a day(52). This would amount to monthly earnings from several hundred to several thousand Deutsche Marks.
The profitability of the business combined with its visibility and illegality make street vendors of untaxed cigarettes a likely target for predatory criminals. In fact, early on Vietnamese street vendors have been victimized in two distinct ways. On the one hand they were targeted by right-wing-extremist juveniles, on the other hand they became victims of Vietnamese extortionists.
In the early 1990s, Vietnamese street vendors were frequently assaulted by young Germans(53), partly to rob cigarettes and money, partly to take the law into their own hands, but mostly for racist motives(54). These attacks were one expression of a broad wave of xenophobic violence Germany, and especially East Germany, experienced in the years following reunification(55). Vietnamese in general, as the largest group of foreigners in East Germany, and not only vendors of cigarettes, were primary targets of these racist assaults. Towards the mid 1990s the wave of violence against Vietnamese ebbed away. For 1996 a Berlin based Vietnamese self-help group reported only some 20 incidents compared with around 1,000 assaults during 1992(56), while at the same time internal violence of increasing proportions and brutality took hold of the Vietnamese community.
Between June of 1991 and the End of 1992, the Berlin police, for example, registered 28 cases of brutal robberies among Vietnamese(57). In December of that same year the first of a series of homocides occurred in the city(58). In 1993 the number of homocides within the Vietnamese community in Berlin rose to 3 and then doubled in each of the following two years to 6 in 1994 and 12 in 1995 to reach a high in 1996 with 15 homocides related in one way or the other to the cigarette business(59). In other parts of East Germany a similar development could be observed(60). At first the violence was largely attributed to competition between cigarette dealers(61), but soon the notion prevailed that the rivaling parties were actually extortion gangs who fought over territories in which they extracted protection payments from street vendors.
The History of Vietnamese Extortion Gangs
The beginnings of the Vietnamese extortion gangs are blurred. According to one source, their origins date back to early 1990 when contract laborers from the poor central Vietnamese provinces organized in an "Association of the Benefactors" for protection against North Vietnamese who tried to hold on to the privileges they had enjoyed in East Germany as the sons of functionaries of the Hanoi regime(62). The North Vietnamese formed the "Association of the Unified Military Provinces" and began to systematically rob and extort Central Vietnamese cigarette vendors. In the ensuing conflict the North Vietnamese were eventually driven out of the Berlin area into southern regions of East Germany (Saxony and Thuringia)(63), but not before they had succeeded in killing the leader of the "Benefactors" in April of 1993. After the death of its leader the "Association of the Benefactors" fell apart and split into several smaller groups, formed along regional lines who turned to extorting those they had once set out to protect(64). Street vendors could no longer operate without paying some sort of tribute to extortion gangs. In the following years two major factions among the Central Vietnamese evolved with about 50 strong-arm men on each side. At the hight of its power in 1996, the largest of the two factions under the leadership of a 25 year old supposedly controlled 800 of the 1,200 vending places in Berlin(65).
The conflict between the rivaling factions culminated in a virtual gangland war in late 1995 and early 1996. Just before Christmas on a weekday afternoon one Vietnamese was killed and two seriously injured in a shoot out on a busy street in East Berlin. Stray bullets grazed a passer-by and hit two passing cars(66). In May of 1996 the war reached its climax when six Vietnamese, known to the police as vendors of untaxed cigarettes, were shot to death in an East Berlin apartment. As investigators found out later, the killers had tried to learn the whereabouts of a gang leader to take revenge for the murder of one of their own vendors three days earlier. In retaliation for the mass murder three vendors aligned with the opposing faction were killed execution style two days later(67).
The escalation of violence provoked dramatically intensified law enforcement efforts. Already in 1994 a special unit had been formed by the Berlin police to centralize all investigations involving Vietnamese criminals. In April of 1996 the unit was reinforced by a homocide squad and given almost unlimited access to personal and logistic ressources enabling them to organize a more relentless pursuit of street vendors and a more intense surveillance of the behind-the-scenes movements of gang members. As a consequence Vietnamese criminals were forced to adopt more conspiratorial methods to conduct their businesses if they were not forced out of business altogether. At the same time the police succeeded in winning the trust of potential witnesses. Several Vietnamese came forward to testify against murder suspects. By the end of 1996 the leaders of the two dominating gangs and several top members were arrested. In the summer of 1997, after another six gang members had been captured, the special police unit targeting Vietnamese criminals was disbanded(68).
Today several smaller groups of hardly more than 10 members each are believed to extort the remaining street vendors. Violent conflicts have flared up occasionally, causing the police in February of 1998 to reinstitute a detective unit charged with monitoring the Vietnamese underworld. But no gang appears to be strong enough to gain a position comparable to that of the large gangs dominating in the mid 1990s(69).
The Structure of Extortion and Extortion Gangs
The gangs involved in the extortion of cigarette vendors do not themselves participate in the trafficking of untaxed cigarettes, except for allocating selling spots within their respective territories. Whoever wishes to become a vendor has to contact the local gang to negotiate a monthly "tax" to be paid in exchange for the right to sell cigarettes provided by a third party. The amount of money charged depends on the profitability of the location and may range from several hundred up to several thousand Deutsche Marks(70). The gangs usually appear on the scene only to collect the monthly payments(71).
In most publications the structure of the extortion gangs is described in the terminology typically applied to ethnically defined organized criminal groups. They are said to be "tightly," "hierarchically," and "military like" organized. The police differentiates four hierarchical levels, the gang leader at the top who directs several so-called sub-leaders. They in turn command a number of "soldiers" among which especially trusted "elevated soldiers" stand out(72).(Slide: The Structure of Extortion) Additional functions are performed by service providers and middlemen who are not regarded as gang members. They assist gang members in matters like procuring legal documents, housing or transportation. With regard to the sale of untaxed cigarettes gangs apparently use individuals who are themselves vendors to collect extortion payments from the vendors in a particular area(73).
According to one source, some of the dominating gangs of the mid 1990s were functionally departmentalized insofar as sub-leaders and their respective underlings were charged with carrying out certain duties, for example as enforcers or internal security officers. Larger gangs in general seem to have been at least geographically departmentalized in the sense that certain soldiers were assigned to control certain vending places(74).
Extortion gangs are exclusively of male membership. Women only play a role as the lover of a boss(75). The cohesion among gang members is supposedly based on regional affiliation, that is the mutual origin from a village, city or province, not on family ties(76). Violence apparently also plays a role in maintaining internal discipline, as authorities believe some of the violence of recent years to be acts of retaliation against traitors(77).
Many questions about the internal structure of extortion gangs remain unanswered. For example, it is not clear how gangs recruit new members, what requirements prospective members have to meet and through what kind of initiation procedure they have to go through.
Vietnamese are reported to be engaged in video piracy and prostitution. See Der Tagesspiegel, '25jähriger Vietnamese in Bordell erschossen', 24 May 1993; Christian Arns, 'Streit um Polizeieinsatz in Vietnamesenheim', die tageszeitung, 5 August 1993, p. 17; Der Spiegel, 'Zweites Standbein', 15/1994, p. 68; Gerhard Habenicht, 'Der illegale Handel mit Zigaretten', Kriminalistik, 4/1995, p. 249; Regina Mönch, 'Trotz Mord blüht das Geschäft', Der Tagesspiegel, 17 May 1996, p. 3; Der Spiegel, 'Wurm in der Suppe', 21/1996, p. 37.
87,928 Vietnamese lived in Germany in 1997, compared with 2,107,426 Turks, 721,029 Yugoslavians, 607,868 Italians, 363,202 Greeks, 283,312 Poles, 281,380 Bosnians, 206,554 Croates, 185,076 Austrians, 132,314 Portugese, 131,636 Spaniards, 115,, 162 Britains, 113,848 Iranians, 112,804 Dutch, 110,105 Americans, 103,902 French, 95,190 Rumanians, 83,904 Maroccans, 69,082 Russians, 66,385 Afghans, 60,330 Sri Lankans, 55,904 Lebanese, 52,029 Hungarians, and 51,397 Ukrainians (Fischer Weltalmanach '99, 203).
52 - Smoltczyk Alexander, 'Der neue Ho-Chi-Minh-Pfad', Wochenpost, 6 May 1995, p. 6.
53 - In the greater Berlin area incidents of police misconduct to the detriment of Vietnamese street vendors have also become known. Police officers allegedly abused arrested Vietnamese and in some cases sold confiscated cigarettes for their own profit (see die tageszeitung, 'Das war eine Art Stillhalteabkommen', 15 July 1992, p. 17; die tageszeitung, 'Skandal weitet sich aus', 20 August 1994, p. 35; Plutonia Plarre, 'Polizei: Korpsgeist und Faustrecht', die tageszeitung 19 August 1997, p. 17).
54 - See die tageszeitung, 'Leipziger Neonazis kündigen Rache an', 3 July 1991, p. 21; die tageszeitung, 'Überfall auf Vietnamesen', 30 July 1992, p. 20; Ute Scheub, 'Der Schmuggel hat mich uffjeregt', die tageszeitung, 30 September 1992, p. 2.
55 - See the annual reports of the internal intelligence agency Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (Bundesministerium des Innern, Verfassungsschutzbericht 1991, Bonn 1992, and consecutive years) for more details.
56 - Klaus Wieking, 'Trotz aller Hürden', zitty 6/1997, pp. 28-29.
57 - die tageszeitung, 'Studie: Bandenkriege nehmen an Härte zu', 19 March 1993, p. 23.
58 - B. Lehmann, op. cit., p. 52.
59 - B. Lehmann, op. cit., p. 56.
60 - G. Habenicht, op. cit., p. 249; Der Spiegel, 'Mauer des Schweigens', 1/1996, p. 56.
61 - Der Tagesspiegel, 'Berlin wird Stützpunkt der Organisierten Kriminalität', 18 June 1993; Der Tagesspiegel, 'Mord an Vietnamesen geklärt', 23 November 1994.
62 - Marina Mai, 'Morde unter Schutzgelderpressern', die tageszeitung, 8 September 1998, p. 24.
63 - B. Lehmann, op. cit., p. 52.
64 - W. Schmidt, 'Hanoi-Bande: Mord gehört zum Geschäft', Der Tagesspiegel, 9 April 1995, p. 13.
65 - W. Schmidt, 'Vietnamesischer Bandenchef gefaßt', Der Tagesspiegel, 27 July 1996.
66 - Der Tagesspiegel, 'Tödliche Schießerei der Zigarettenmafia', 22 December 1995.
67 - S. Laudan, op. cit., p. 185.
68 - S. Laudan, op. cit., p. 190-191.
69 - S. Laudan, op. cit., p. 191; W. Schmidt, 'Die Polizei befürchtet neue Bandenkämpfe', Der Tagesspiegel, 2 February 1998.
70 - Payments of up to 15,000 Deutsche Marks per month have been reported. See S. Laudan, op. cit., p. 183; B. Lehmann, op. cit., p. 57; Regina Mönch, 'Trotz Mord blüht das Geschäft', Der Tagesspiegel, 17 May 1996; W. Schmidt, 'Vietnamesischer Bandenchef gefaßt', Der Tagesspiegel, 27 September 1996. In recent years the level of extortion payments has apparently decreased to between 500 and 1,500 Deutsche Marks (see W. Schmidt, 'Wer illegale Zigaretten kauft, muß mit Schießereien rechnen', Der Tagesspiegel, 15 December 1998).
71 - S. Laudan, op. cit., p. 183.
72 - Der Tagesspiegel, 'Erneuter Schlag gegen die Zigaretten-Mafia', 20 June 1997; according to B. Lehmann, op. cit., p. 52, "elevated soldiers" are charged with independently administrating certain vending places.
73 - S. Laudan, op. cit., p. 184; B. Lehmann, op. cit., p. 52.
74 - B. Lehmann, op. cit., p. 52.
75 - Marina Mai, 'Morde unter Schutzgelderpressern', die tageszeitung, 8 September 1998, p. 24.
76 - S. Laudan, op. cit., p. 184.
77 - Der Tagesspiegel, 'Morde unter Vietnamesen erneut vor Gericht', 29 January 1998.
UT PCL, Germany (Political) 1994
L’ambassade du Vietnam en Allemagne accusée de trafics avec la Mafia
D’après le quotidien Berliner Zeitung du 1/7/97, publié en Allemagne : "L’ambassade du Vietnam : lieu de trafic de cigarette de la Mafia". Le trafic illicite des cigarettes a eu lieu dans l’enceinte diplomatique. Les cerveaux de ce trafic l'ont organisé sous le couvert de l’immunité diplomatique à l’intérieur de l’Ambassade du Vietnam.
Des négociations et transactions illicites ont eu lieu depuis de nombreuses années. Interrogé par le journal, le premier Secrétaire de l’Ambassade, Nguyen Huu Trang a répondu que l’Ambassade du Vietnam ne peut pas contrôler toutes les entrées sorties. Et il se pourrait qu‘il y ait des condamnés de droits communs qui viennent à l’ Ambassade et effectuent ces transactions.
En République Tchèque, vers la fin de 1995, la police a arrêté des membres de l’Ambassade du Vietnam, accusés de trafics de cigarettes. Ces personnes ont été ensuite expulsées.
La section de police fédérale
chargée des affaires du Vietnam a reçu des nouvelles semblables
concernant l’Ambassade du Vietnam à Bonn. Le Commissaire Detlev Schade
a donné des précisions : "D’après des indices recueillis,
des membres de l’Ambassade du Vietnam ont été impliqués
dans les trafics de cigarettes, mais nous ne pouvons pas les interroger à
cause de leur immunité diplomatique". Jusqu‘ici, il n’y a aucune
plainte déposée par les personnes qui nous ont communiqué
les informations. Des fonctionnaires de la Douane ont aussi reconnu qu’il n’y
a aucun autre endroit plus sécurisé que l’Ambassade pour organiser
ce genre de trafic. En 1996, la Douane a saisi 42 millions de cigarettes de
contrebande. 39 Vietnamiens ont trouvé la mort au cours des affrontements
sanglants entre bandes rivales qui cherchent à contrôler le marché
Volume 2 Number 7
Employment and Asylum in Germany
There are between 60,000 and 100,000 Vietnamese living in Germany. Vietnamese who are denied work permits allegedly support themselves by selling contraband cigarettes on street corners in Berlin and other German cities. Fighting over the cigarette trade has led to the death of 19 people in Berlin. There have also been claims that the police are targeting foreigners for beatings.
This summer, Germany will deport the first 2,500 of 40,000 Vietnamese who applied for asylum and were refused, and those who entered, sometimes illegally, into Germany in the early 1990s. More than 50,000 Vietnamese accepted $2,000 bonuses in 1990-91 and left for Vietnam.
Under the agreement between Hanoi and Bonn, Vietnam will accept the 40,000 undocumented Vietnamese by the year 2000 and Bonn will pay Hanoi at least $72 million to assist with their repatriation. During the two-year negotiations, the primary stumbling block was how much money Bonn would have to pay Vietnam to take back the illegal immigrants as soon as possible.
The 40,000 Vietnamese scheduled for deportation were among the 100,000 who once resided in East Germany. Local officials and judges have granted either permanent residence permits or "tolerance papers" to about 60,000 allowing them to stay and work in the reunified Germany.
Some German legislators, including the government's special representative for the affairs of alien residents, favor granting residency to the Vietnamese on political and humanitarian grounds.
Eastern Europe is expecting many of the Vietnamese to flee there instead of waiting for repatriation to Vietnam. Eastern European government officials are especially concerned about criminals, such as the Vietnamese mafia, that may enter their countries.
A Czech Republic diplomat said that Vietnamese are already starting to cross from Germany to the Czech Republic, where Vietnamese are believed to be two percent of the total illegal immigrant population. Poles report that it only costs a few hundred dollars to illegally cross the German-Polish border.
Ken Stier, "East Europe braces for Vietnamese wave when Bonn tries repatriation," Deutsche Presse-Agentur, June 23, 1995. Eric Geiger, "Vietnamese in Germany Wait to be Sent Home," San Francisco Chronicle, June 22, 1995. "Talks held on repatriation of Vietnamese held in Germany," BBC, June 10, 1995.
German News (English Edition) Fr, 18.10.1996 18:00 CEDT
For the first time Berlin
Vietnamese cigarette-mafia members go to jail
This was the first time members of the Vietnamese cigarette-mafia were sentenced to life imprisonment. They had killed a cigarette-pusher in cold blood. The trial made the headlines as this was the first time a witness for the prosecution did stick to his testimony. Previously many witnesses had been intimidated, so they had recanted. The court was convinced that the two perpetrators had executed one of their colleagues on 20 March in front of a Berlin-Marzahn supermarket. The man they had killed supposedly had started contacting a rival mafia-gang, and the murder was meant to be a deterrent, according to investigations. This was the first time the Berlin judiciary was successful, in as many as 39 killings in the past, and they also had a Vietnamese chief witness. The man had been a friend of the killed person, and as an eye-witness to the execution, had been able to identify the killers. He now is under witness-protection to avoid revenge-killings such as the ones that had taken place in the past under similar circumstances.::: Former communist East Germany had attracted many Vietnamese nationals, to work there, yet not granted them residency. After re-unification, many stayed on, more or less legally, and obviously found extremely gainful (though hardly legal) work pushing cigarettes. Cigarettes are mainly 'imported' via Poland, sometimes using trucks, sometimes by dropping them onto the street from a bridge linking Poland and Germany in the city of Frankfurt/Oder. In Germany excise-duty on cigarettes is (perceived to be) high, so margins would be high too.:::
The Truth About The Human Trade
(CARF 33, August/September 1996)
It is a deadly livelihood. Sellers do not keep much money from sales and must pay for their pitches outside supermarkets or train stations. Constant police raids have put a premium on safe sites, which now have to be bought for up to DM30000 (£13000). Hence, 'wars' have emerged between rival gangs seeking territorial control. Since 1992, 41 Vietnamese have been murdered in Berlin. The latest seven victims were shot through the head in a mass execution.
The in-fighting and resulting murders are used, not to re-examine society's attitude toward the Vietnamese, but to subject them to another round of political and popular racism. The politicians have used the bloody murders to justify the repatriation of the Vietnamese en masse, while the press have concentrated on scare stories about the Vietnamese underworld. Nobody wants to examine how racist policies criminalise communities, or to see the poor Vietnamese street seller as a powerless victim. Nor does it suit political purposes to admit that crime is international, not 'ethnic', and that even within the ruthless world of international crime there is such a thing as a race hierarchy. For the Vietnamese gangs in Berlin who exploit their Vietnamese compatriots are on the lowest rung of a mafia hierarchy, in which Russians, Baltic nationals, Germans and Swiss control the sale of contraband cigarettes.
January 15, 1996 Volume 147, No.
DYING FOR SOME SMOKES
CIGARETTE SMUGGLING IS BIG BUSINESS FOR VIETNAMESE GANGS IN GERMANY, WITH MURDER A FREQUENT SIDELINE
ANTHONY SPAETH REPORTED BY ERIK KIRSCHBAUM/BERLIN
CIGARETTES ARE KILLERS: THAT'S A NOTION Germans are having trouble ignoring these days. Last March six members of rival gangs smuggling cigarettes into Germany were gunned down in a Berlin shoot-out. Last month a gunfight at a Berlin subway station left one Vietnamese cigarette smuggler dead and injured a German passerby. Shortly before Christmas, 12-year-old Tay Lin Nguyen was discovered in the bathtub of her Berlin apartment with her throat slashed and stab wounds all over her body--another casualty, police believe, of the country's increasingly murderous crime mafia.
The nicotine mob, built up with the help of Vietnamese "guest workers" from the former East Germany, has mushroomed in the past few years, as evidenced by the diminutive, Asian-featured peddlers who hang out in subway stations and at busy intersections throughout the eastern part of the country. There they display plastic bags crammed with cartons of American or East European cigarettes selling for $20, 40% less than the retail price. The contraband cigarettes are smuggled across Germany's nine international borders in giant truckloads disguised as furniture or even French fries. Smaller amounts are hand carried through border checkpoints by ostensible shoppers, known in the trade as ants. In tiny loads and large, an estimated 20 million cartons got through in 1995, costing the German Finance Ministry more than $1 billion in lost tax revenues.
The business thrives on the desperation of the 40,000 to 80,000 Vietnamese who stayed on after Germany united and were thrown out of their low-paying, often menial jobs. "These are just normal poor people who are out there selling cigarettes," says Vanson Irrgang, who heads Berlin's Association of Vietnamese, a support group. The gang bosses, however, are regular thugs who don't like competition, which explains the bloody intragang warfare that has flared in the past three years and has led to at least 30 slayings and 10 disappearances. In peaceful, gun-free Germany, this is a virtual murder wave. "We have never seen anything nearly as brutal as this," says Berlin detective Detlef Schade. Even worse, police are certain the gangs will soon move into more treacherous lines of business. "Once the organization is in place," says Leonhard Bierl, spokesman for the federal customs crime office in Cologne, "it is only a small step to drugs, prostitution and car smuggling."
So far, police have made minor crackdowns on the street sellers, the lowest tier of the gangs, and have run into a wall of silence from everyone associated with the business. With such negligible success, police are justifiably worried that gangs now involved with smokes may soon be playing with fire.
--By Anthony Spaeth.
efms Migration Report 1995
Difficulties in repatriation negotiations
Negotiations on the repatriation of some 40,000 Vietnamese to their native land, and the payment of 100 million marks in aid to Vietnam, which were to be concluded at the beginning of the year, have not yet yielded positive results. Talks faltered when Vietnam made further financial demands and refused to repatriate deportees whose Vietnamese nationality is dubious. While German authorities are anxious to begin deporting Vietnamese offenders (e.g. cigarette-mafia of Berlin), experts consider plans to repatriate 20,000 persons in the next 3 years to be unrealistic. Refugee organisations have urged caution over too hasty deportations, as the question of human rights has not been adequately clarified in the contract.
FR 09.06.1995 // Welt 07.06.1995
efms Migration Report 1996
Vietnam willing to implement repatriation
The Vietnamese government responds to diplomatic pressure from Bonn, by agreeing to remove bureaucratic obstacles to implementing the repatriation agreement. Hanoi pledges to facilitate admittance procedures and to begin repatriation of approximately 40,000 Vietnamese currently residing in Germany. To this aim, Hanoi presents a list of 3,000 names. The German government endeavours to improve conditions for voluntary return of Vietnamese to their country. Meanwhile, plans are underway for a joint crackdown on the Vietnamese "cigarette mafia" active in Berlin. An exchange of police officials is planned.
SZ 05.07.1996 // FR 05.07.1996 // FR 06.07.1996 // SZ 1 0.07.1996
Berlin Antiracist Information Network
News Update May/June 95
2 VIETNAMESE DIE IN "EXECUTION-STYLE" KILLINGS
23.5.95. Two Vietnamese men (24 and 26 years old) were found dead in the grounds of a hostal for asylum seekers in the town of Burg in Sachsen-Anhalt. The two had received shots to the head at point blank range, according to the Federal State Attorney in Stendal, and the killing was reported as carrying the "hallmarks of an execution". The State Attorney further commented that he assumed a political motivation for the act to be "unlikely", and that the motives probably had more to do with "gang criminality". No further substantiation for this assumption was provided.
GERMANY AND VIETNAM AGREE ON "REPATRIATION FOR AID" PROGRAM
The Federal Interior Ministry announced
over the weekend of June 3rd/4th that agreement had been reached with the Vietnam
government on the repatriation of 40,000 Vietnamese immigrants in Germany. A
speaker for the Berlin city senate commented that
deportations would begin before the official signing of the treaty.
The question of the forced deportation of the Vietnamese immigrants in Germany has only been on the top of the political agenda since the German government revoked the residence permits of all Vietnamese contract workers to the former East Germany last year, thus transforming the entire group into "illegal immigrants". In addition the Economics Minstry has been sponsoring a long term multi-million mark poster campaign directed against the so-called "cigarette mafia", allegedly run by Vietnamese gangs, apparently as part of a campaign to connect the Vietnamese community with criminality in the public mind.
The German-Vietnamese Friendship Association "Reistrommel" (Rice-Drum) has criticized the repatriation agreement, yet apparently seems to accept deportation as a fait accompli. A spokesperson for the organisation is quoted as being primarily concerned with the reception awaiting future deportees, claiming that the Vietnamese government was planning to put some of those to be repatriated on trial for treason.
A speaker for the Berlin Senate commented that there were as yet no measures agreed on to monitor the human rights situation in Vietnam, but that this was no object to starting deportations immediately. Interior State Secretary Bvse of the Berlin Senate went on to claim that the main objective of the agreement had been to act "effectively against the cigarette mafia and the associated serious criminality". Deportations prior to the formal signing of the agreement would be a "balancing act" but would be "justified by the high pressure of expectations". Secretary Bvse also remarked that the deportations would also mean that "those Vietnamese living legally in Berlin won't be treated the same as their criminal compatriots". He neglected to mention that the government has ensured that practically no Vietnamese citizens are able to live legally in Berlin.
The German Interior Ministry also announced that a total of 100 million Marks in development aid, as well as 20 million DM in "immediate aid" would now be made available to the Vietnamese government in return for its acceptance of the repatriation program.
VIETNAMESE MAN KILLED DURING POLICE CHASE
Vo Xuan Cuong, a 37 year-old Vietnamese refugee, was killed whilst being chased by police in Berlin-Kvpenick on June 17th. The man is reported to have run across railway lines where he was hit by a train. Eyewitnesses report that the man was chased by police away from the railway station in Kvpenick to a nearby wood. According to witnesses the pursuing police should have been able to hear the approaching train, yet failed to break off the chase. They also report the police officers laughing and joking near the body of the dead man.
Tamara Hentschel of the German-Vietnamese Friendship Association "Reistrommel" commented that "Vo Xuan Cuong's death is the result of the month-long propaganda campaign by the Berlin Senate and the Federal Government" against (Vietnamese) dealers in illegally imported cigarettes. According to Ms Hentschel, the campaign has led to a situation in which the "the sense of proportion in (the police's) actions against the cigarette dealers has been lost". "They are obviously reckoning with the fact that people may die".
Manpower export status of Vietnam
Table 1: Vietnamese workers dispatched to the former Soviet Union, Germany, Czech, and Bulgaria from 1980 – 1990
Number of workers
Table 2: Quantity of manpower export from 1991 to 1999
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