HomeNewsBriefPower Vacuum Leads to Fighting Among Chinese Mafias in Argentina
BRIEF

Power Vacuum Leads to Fighting Among Chinese Mafias in Argentina

ARGENTINA / 28 FEB 2017 BY ALISTAIR THOMPSON AND DAVID GAGNE EN

Three Chinese mafias are reportedly vying for criminal dominance following the capture of the leader of the most powerful mafia in Argentina, demonstrating the resilience of these organizations and the authorities' failure to disrupt their activities. 

Investigators told Argentine news organization Perfil that armed confrontations have taken place between three Chinese mafias looking to take over the criminal industries run by Pi Xiu, considered the largest and most violent mafia in the country. Pi Xiu's leader, Yong Ye, alias "A Di," was captured during a joint Argentine-Chinese operation dubbed "Dragon's Head" in June 2016.  

According to Perfil, these criminal organizations are involved in a range of criminal activities, including prostitution, human smuggling, express kidnappings and drug trafficking. These activities are reportedly financed by the extortion of supermarkets in Chinese neighborhoods. Police say supermarket owners pay as much as $50,000 per year in extortion fees, Perfil reported.  

The three mafias fighting for control in Argentina are factions of Chinese organizations that operate at a global level, the media outlet said. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The capture of A Di was a positive step towards limiting the Chinese mafia presence in Argentina, but the past eight months have shown that the groups are highly adaptable and that conventional law enforcement methods have proven insufficient to combat what remains an elusive and insulated subset of the country's underworld.

As InSight Crime's past coverage has noted, language and culture are some of the most prominent barriers to investigating these mafias. With few Chinese officers in the ranks of Argentine law enforcement, the authorities' ability to infiltrate the mafias and intercept their communications is exceedingly limited. More joint operations with Chinese authorities, such as the one that led to A Di's arrest, will be needed to disrupt the operations of the groups that have emerged to challenge Pi Xiu's power. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Argentina

What's happening with Argentina's Chinese mafias is a microcosm of the changes to the broader organized crime landscape in Latin America. With the arrest or killing of scores of drug bosses in countries such as Colombia, Mexico and Honduras, the region's underworld is becoming increasingly fragmented as smaller groups replace more established organizations. This dynamic has presented its own set of security challenges, as the groups fight over ever smaller shares of the criminal profits. 

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.

DONATE

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.

DONATE

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 7 SEP 2021

The visual is an arresting one. A Venezuelan army sergeant, his face swollen and his nose bleeding from a beating,…

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border…

EL SALVADOR / 3 OCT 2022

Extortion in the Northern Triangle is predominantly done from prisons, yet prison populations have been on the rise.

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…