HomeNewsArgentina Police Fail to Break Chinese Mafia

Argentina Police Fail to Break Chinese Mafia


A series of arrests have highlighted how Chinese organized crime maintains a strong influence in Argentina’s capital, where merchants often must pay tens of thousands of dollars in extortion fees.

The president of the Chinese Supermarket Chamber of Commerce, Ke Deqiang, was charged with being behind an extortion ring in La Plata, a city near the capital, according to Infobae. On May 19, Deqiang escaped from the police station where he was being held – by walking out the door.

Footage of his escape released by Infobae shows him walking out of the building and then climbing over an outside gate.  

“It is totally impossible to escape from that police station without complicity from the outside,” the former head of the First Police Station in La Plata told Infobae. “There is no way to leave without the door being opened for you,” he affirmed.

SEE ALSO: Chinese Mafia Moving Beyond Extorting Argentina's Supermarkets

Also in May, a string of police raids in Buenos Aires’ eastern neighborhood of La Boca dismantled another Chinese mafia extortion ring. The ring’s alleged leader, along with several other members, were described by authorities as belonging to the Panda clan, a longtime mafia group in Argentina.

The group was found with notes written in Mandarin demanding payment of $50,000 from Chinese supermarkets in the area. The notes warned that failure to pay would end in them being shot.

InSight Crime Analysis

Efforts to target the leadership of different Chinese mafia groups in Argentina have proven unsuccessful in stopping their extortive practices. Corruption and cultural differences on the part of public officials still appear to play a role in the inability of police to root them out.

These groups maintain a hand in drug trafficking, human smuggling, and money laundering. But they mostly prey on the Chinese diaspora in and around Buenos Aires, reaping profits from extortion.  

Police efforts to dismantle powerful factions within the organization have been consistently stymied by language barriers, resistance from within local Chinese communities and of course, official collusion.

SEE ALSO: Investigation of Argentina's Largest Chinese Mafia Leads to New Arrests

In 2016, the “Pixiu Mafia,” considered the most powerful Chinese mafia in the country and potentially the continent, was dealt a heavy blow. A series of high-level arrests under Operation Dragon’s Head was said to significantly weaken the organization.

Now some seven years later, criminal groups appear to be employing the exact same tactics, extorting businesses for anywhere between $30,000-50,000 with impunity.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.


Related Content


With the Copa America soccer tournament nearing kickoff, authorities in Brazil have employed a number of tactics to ensure infamous…


The case of a shady Balkan crime network sheds light on the ways that the South American drug trade has…


When hundreds of skinned donkeys appeared on Colombia’s northern coast without explanation, locals -- and later authorities -- started asking…

About InSight Crime


Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…


Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…


Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…


Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.


Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…