Gangs won’t stop short of violence to get what they want. Some grab enough cash that they’d rival the profit of a major corporation. Anything from illegal gambling and drug extortion to
The Yakuza membership is said to be as high as more than 100,000 people worldwide. The gang is an organized crime syndicate with Japanese origins. To join potential members must cut ties with their families. Failure isn’t tolerated in the Yakuza. Mess up once and you may lose a finger. Some of the Yakuza gangs teeter towards being legitimate, but others remain entrenched in international crime including drug trafficking and arms smuggling.
9. Primeiro Comando da capital
The PCC is Brazil’s largest criminal organization and one of the world’s most dangerous gangs. Its numbers are said to include about 6,000 dues paying members and about 140,000 prison inmates. It launched a crime wave in Sao Paulo in 2012 that killed about 100 people including many police officers after their truce with the police fell apart.
Eight prisoners started the gang while playing soccer at a San Paulo prison. Its mission started as fighting the oppression inside Sao Paulo prisons and avenging the deaths of 111 prisoners killed by state military police at a prison in 1992.
8. Hell’s Angels
The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club is known for its riders and their love of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Its members allegedly engage in extortion, prostitution, drug dealing and selling stolen goods. Members say otherwise – that they can’t be blamed for the activities of a few – but the U.S. Department of Justice considers them an organized crime syndicate. Just to be on the safe side, stay inside when they ride into your town.
7. United Bamboo Gang
Largest of Taiwan’s three main Triads and one of the most dangerous gangs, the United Bamboo Gang claims about 10,000 members. Human trafficking, extortion and drug smuggling. The gang is also believed to be responsible for the killing of journalists and writers including Henry Liu in 1984 in California.
One of the United States’ most notorious gangs, the Crips got its start in 1969 in California. No longer just teenage thugs, the gang now includes about 30,000 or more members. Robberies, drug dealing, and murder are some of the crimes attributed to the Crips, whose members not only spar with its rival the Bloods but also between different sets within the Crips itself. Infighting blew up after Raymond Lee Washington, who founded the Crips with Stanley Tookie Williams, was killed in 1979 and no longer could keep the peace.
Like its rival, the Bloods got its start in Los Angeles. Its red colors identified members as compared to the blue worn by the Crips. It got its start in the 1960s when Crips targeted Centennial High School students and one of the students, Sylvester Scott, organized a group to go against the Crips. Today’s Bloods gang, like the Crips, actually include different sets of street gangs within the larger gang.
4. Los Zetas
Los Zetas’ known as one of the world’s most dangerous gangs and one of its most dangerous drug cartels. Mostly active in Mexico, its reach does extend to the United States. This gang actually got its start when Mexican Army soldiers switched allegiances and provided enforcement for the Gulf Cartel. Soon it became its own gang. Cross this gang the wrong way and you may get beheaded.
3. 18th Street Gang
The 18th Street Gang, also known as M18, started in Los Angeles. Today its reach may extend beyond 65,00 members in 120 cities. Its name comes from its origin as it started near 18th Street in Los Angeles’ Rampart District. The group’s the largest multi-national gang in Los Angeles but started out mostly second-generation Hispanics. Its reach has now extended worldwide.
2. Mara Salvatrucha
Mara Salvatrucha, known also as MS-13, is one of the world’s most dangerous gangs. Now international, the gang got its start when a group of El Salvadorians fleeing the country’s civil war immigrated to California. Its membership is primarily Central Americans. It’s said to have more than 70,000 members. Black market gun sales, contract killing, human trafficking and drug smuggling’s among its crimes.
Kenya’s Mungiki gang includes about 100,000 members from the Kikuyu, Kenya’s largest ethnic group. It started out as a machete-wielding gang but now even influences economics and politics because of its violence and recruitment. Severed heads served the purpose, for instance, to keep people going to the polls in an election in Nairobi. Different from other most dangerous gangs, the Mungiki follows a religion that it keeps secretive but favor indigenous African traditions. Mungiki doesn’t have the same international reach as other gangs, but it is one of the world’s most ruthless.