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Generic Ethnic Crime Gang

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"There is no distinctly native American criminal class save Congress!"

In fiction, gangs tend to share a few common traits:


The second and fourth points are commonly played for drama, as combined they easily spark conflict. A common convention is to have gangs of different ethnicities compete with each other, such as The Irish Mob vs. The Mafia.

See Ruthless Foreign Gangsters. In terms of Alike and Antithetical Adversaries, these guys fall on the "homogeneous" side of the scale.

Types of gangs

The most common types of gangs are:

Other types of gangs include:

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    Black Gangsters 
The classier, more organized version of Gang Bangers (who frequently despair at the latter and wish they'd Stop Being Stereotypical). Compare with The Yardies, who are British/West Indian.
  • American Gangster: Real life drug lord Frank Lucas models his empire on the Italians' to create an African-American mafia, with him as the patriarch.
  • Gambol from The Dark Knight
  • Lottery operators such as those depicted in the film Hoodlum
  • Mr. Black (haha, get it?) from Darkman appears to be one of these, from the way he dresses, but it's hard to tell because he is almost immediately killed by Durant.
  • The Boss's gang in Lucky Number Slevin.
  • Nino Brown in New Jack City.
  • One of the Feuding Families from Romeo Must Die was this type of mob, the other being a Triad.
  • Shoe Coldfield from The Vampire Files leads a relatively-benign Bronze Belt mob in 1930s Chicago.
  • In Friday Craig and Smokey owe money to a black gang led by Big Perm.
  • Tony Marcus in the works of Robert B Parker.
  • The Black Mafia Family or BMF, active between the late 1980s to the mid 2000s can be seen as a real life version of this trope.
  • Despite being Irish American, Frank Reynolds was a bookie for one on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
  • While "Chalky" White's operation is distinctly a second-stringer to Nucky Thompson's at the beginning of Boardwalk Empire, he rises in social status both legitimate and criminal over the course of the series.
  • Mafia II has The Bombers, African American gangsters who deal drugs. While they're the least encountered in the main story, The Betrayal of Jimmy DLC makes them an Ascended Extra via making them one of the Big Bad Ensemble, alongside The Triads and the Tongs.
  • Mafia III, meanwhile, stars Lincoln Clay, the sole surviving member of the Black Mob of New Bordeaux, which was slaughtered by the Italians in a power play for the city. Lincoln's own organization is a bit more Equal-Opportunity Evil, although still weighted black. Lincoln is assisted by Cassandra, the mysterious leader of the Haitian gang, who holds a grudge against the former Black Mob.
  • Saints Row has the Vice Kings, a predominantly African-American gang controlling gambling, prostitution, and pornography in Stilwater. Unlike other gangs in the game, their leader, Benjamin King, actually tries to go legit and to gradually exorcise the illegal aspects of his business, which is cut short by the Saints' intervention and his own dissatisfied underlings' treachery.

    East Asian and Southeast Asian gangsters 
  • Grand Theft Auto has the Da Nang Boys (Vietnamese gangsters), and Korean mobs, in addition to the Triad.
  • Marrying The Mafia features a Korean mob family.
  • Kiryu Kazuma fights Korean gangsters in Yakuza 2.
  • The protagonist in The Perfect Weapon fights a Korean mob.
  • The Hmong Gang Bangers from Gran Torino.
    • Scalped has them as well, this time out of Minnesota.
  • The Azn Bad Boys of Worm, with added superpowers.
  • The Ronin from Saints Row 2 are a branch of the Japanese yakuza who took over the Vice Kings' businesses of gambling, prostitution, and pornography since their collapse in the first game. Also, in Saints Row, the Westside Rollerz are comprised about fifty-fifty of Asian and White Gangbangers, but their leadership is all-Caucasian and they don't have any ties to East Asian organized crime.

    Eastern European Gangsters 
These gangs take advantage of the instability in the Balkans and flourished after the fall of communism. Stereotypically linked to human trafficking and heroin.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV features the (very significant in Real Life) Serbian and Albanian Mafias.
  • The British film Layer Cake also includes a Serbian mafia.
  • In Taken, members of the Albanian mafia are responsible for the kidnapping of the protagonist's daughter.
  • The Albanian mob appears in Law & Order: Criminal Intent
  • "The Chechen" from The Dark Knight
  • Chechen gangsters appear in Eastern Promises
  • And still more Chechens appear in an episode of White Collar, where they prove to have standards when it comes to an extortion racket involving the exploitation of innocent Chechen children.
  • In The Punisher MAX storyline "The Slavers", the eponymous white slavers are an incredibly vicious gang of Romanians who also did time working as mercenaries for the Bosnian Serbs.
  • The bad guys in the Robert Crais novel The First Rule are part of the Serbian Mob.
  • Bad Boys II features some of these in a gang war with the South American variety.
  • Eastern European gangsters are the main bad guys in the first and third seasons of Engrenages.
  • The Armenian Mafia (which bears some significance in Real Life Los Angeles) appears as an extremely minor gang in Grand Theft Auto V. Simeon Yetarian is implied to be a member of the gang.

    Greek Gangsters 
Greek Gangs seem to be the go-to Ethnic Crime Gang for antiquities smuggling and gun-running; illegal (non-casino) gambling is another favorite.
  • Nick "the Greek" in Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels
  • Colombo and Kristatos in For Your Eyes Only, who were from the Ian Fleming short story "Risico".
  • Men of Respect. Has Greek Mob boss Alli "The Greek" Bernacci and other Greek gangsters.
  • Played for laughs in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
    Cousin Nick: (in a very cheerful tone) Hey Ian, we're gonna kill ya! Opa!
  • The Martina Cole novel Dangerous Lady
  • An arc in season 5 of CSI: NY has Stella Bonasera investigating a Greek antiquities smuggling gang.
  • Soap Opera Days of Our Lives. In the Back Story, Victor Kiriakis was originally a member of a Sicilian Mafia-style Greek crime family in his home town of Nafplion, Greece.
  • In The Untouchables episode "Jack 'Legs' Diamond", the title criminal made a deal with a Greek crime family to buy $5 million worth of narcotics.
  • In the second season of The Wire, the primary antagonist is only known as "The Greek", and his gang informally as "the Greeks". He's not Greek (but definitely foreign), and his gang is multinational, with Israelis, Russians, and at least one genuine Greek as The Dragon.
  • The Velentzas family is a Greek-American criminal organization operating in the New York City area.
  • The Philadelphia Greek Mob, mostly active in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • Justified's Detroit mob is controlled by the Theo Tonin, a Greek mobster, and several of his top henchmen, including Ethan Picker and Elias Marcos are also Greek.

    Latin American Gangsters 
Some can overlap with The Cartel, but The Cartel tends to be strictly based on drugs and has a physical base in South America.

    Dixie Mafia 
Where the ethnicity is white, Southern, and rural. May overlap with Bandit Clan or hate groups like The Klan in some cases.
  • Justified: Being set in Kentucky, most of Justified's gangsters, major and minor, were southern, and ranged in scope of operations from local bandit clans and hillbilly moonshiners on up to the Dixie Mafia proper, controlled by real estate mogul Emmett Arnett, and Psycho for Hire Wynn Duffy.
  • Claws has the Husser family, a branch of the local Dixie Mafia, as major antagonists, headed by "Uncle Daddy" Clay Husser.
  • Mafia III features the Dixie Mafia, led by Ritchie Doucet, as associates of the Marcano mafia family. They're portrayed as a gang of neo-Confederates who traffic in heroin and black prostitutes while being unabashedly racist. There's also the Southern Union, essentially a more upscale Klan with mafia ties.

    Haitian Mobs 
A more specialized variant of Yardies, and more likely to operate in the Americas, particularly the Southeastern United States. Hollywood Voodoo being the one thing everyone knows about Haiti, expect them to practice it.
  • Mr. Big in both the literary version of Live and Let Die is a Haitian-American whose organization consists mostly of black Gang Bangers (the films gave him a fictional but barely-disguised ethnicity).
  • Feature in the backstory of Solomon Grundy in the DC Animated Universe. In life he worked alongside them, but they betrayed him fatally and cursed him, leading him to rise from the dead.
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has them as the main enemies of the Cubans.
  • In Mafia III there's a group haunting the bayou outside of New Bordeaux, with plans on muscling in on Delray Hollow. Lincoln smashes their operation in an early chapter, then takes over the remnants for his feud with the Marcanos.

    Gangsters of more unusual ethnicities 
  • The Indigenous Australian (Torres Strait Islanders) crime syndicate in The Straits smuggles drugs in one of the most naturally beautiful parts of the world (North Australia and Papua New Guinea). They also deal with Asian and Papua New Guinean criminal franchises. In this case, one of the co-founders of the indigenous crime gang is of Maltese ethnicity, however.
  • A throwaway line in Leverage referring to a "New Zealand mafia" somewhere on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. Even the characters are surprised. New Zealand actually has the highest rate of gang membership per capita in the world. Outlaw biker clubs are especially prevalent, some clubs are white-only while others are predominately Maori.
  • The second and fourth seasons of Engrenages feature North African mobs in France. The fourth season additionally has a Kurdish gangster family.
  • Transhuman Space has the Maple Syndicate, which as the name suggests is Canadian.
  • Elementary's season 2 finale arc has the cast encounter le Milieu, a.k.a. the Corsican mafia.
  • The Headhunt has an offhand mention that the Ver Eshalakh (alien military police) have "had … encounters with le Milieu (French gangsters of Corsican or North African origin) which did not end in their favor".
  • In Hack/Slash, the dominant crime family in Chicago are the Beanes, a deformed and psychotically violent Scots-American clan who are descended from the legendary Sawney Beane's sexual liaison with a demoness.
  • In the Danish film, Flickering Lights, the antagonists are Faroese gangsters. For reference, that is a Scandinavian ethnic group that only counts around 80,000 people.
  • Lonesome Dove and its film adaptation features an outlaw gang consisting primarily of Kiowa Indians, though some members are white and their leader, Blue Duck, is of Comanche and Mexican descent.
  • The Indian Detective: Doug gets tangled up with a local organized crime gang in Mumbai led by Gopal Chandekar. Of course, they don't stand out as an ethnic gang, per se, because they're also Indian.
  • Mayans M.C. features a Samoan gang as minor antagonists. Samoan and other Polynesian gangs are prominent in many cities but rarely appear in fiction.
  • Saints Row 2 gave us the Sons of Samedi, an Afro-Caribbean-led gang controlling drug trade, particularly, that of the fictional Loa Dust. That said, because their primary selling and recruiting grounds are the Stilwater University campus, plenty of White Gang-Bangers fill out their lowest rungs.

    Gangsters with fictional ethnicities 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the spin-off Angel had the occasional demonic mafiosi. For example, that loanshark who was a literal humanoid shark. We never got a close look at the family dynamics, though.
  • The Tauron Ha'la'tha from Caprica fits all four points (family-oriented with an old patriarch—the Guatrau—honor and loyalty, very organized, and all Taurons), despite including some elements of The Cartel (tattoos and rap, plus Taurons are Space Mexicans even though they speak Ancient Greek—or at least a language "translated" as Ancient Greek).
  • In Mass Effect:
    • Ethnic Crime Gang seems to be the hat of the Vorcha. Pretty much all you ever get to meet seem to belong to street gangs.
    • Though they usually have multi-species organizations, the Blue Skinned Space Babe race of the Asari seems to run almost all major crime in the galaxy. The asari planet Illium is officially a "special economic zone", but in reality that means it's a primary hub for everything that is illegal to sell elsewhere.
    Garrus: Don't be fooled. Illium is just like Omega, only with more expensive shoes.
  • BioWare also brought us the Carta, the dwarven mafia from Dragon Age. Much of the reason they're so prevalent is that dwarven society has a population of casteless dwarves, who are considered the lowest of the low and banned from legitimate occupations; their only choices are crime, begging, prostitution (or something close), cleaning the streets, or emigration (the last often considered a Fate Worse than Death). Even those who emigrate often end up part of the surface Carta; these tend to smuggle lyrium to outcast ex-templars and apostate mages, among other things.
  • In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt most of the gangs in Novigrad consist of humans of undetermined ethnicity, but Cleaver's gang consists entirely of dwarves, possibly an Expy of the above mentioned Carta.
  • Star Wars gives us the Hutts, of whom almost the entire species has crime lord as their Hat. However Jabba has members of countless species under his employ and is the only Hutt seen in the original trilogy.
    • Several other such groups and gangs have made appearances in expanded universe works from both the current and Legends canon. A few notable examples include the Pyke Syndicate, a spice cartel that runs the spice mining operation on Kessel, the White Worms gang of Corellia, which has an ethnically diverse membership in the lower ranks but is primarily run by a race of four-meter long sunlight-sensitive worms and the Droid Gotra, which as the name suggests is made up entirely of criminal droids.
  • The Breccia in Discworld are the Troll Mob. The name is something of a Genius Bonus, as breccia is a kind of rock made from fragments of smaller rocks cemented together.
  • The Orion Syndicate in Star Trek. While they have many operatives of various races, the whole thing is run by the Orions.
  • In Traveller the planet Granicus is run by gangsters. There are three main syndicates, two of which consider it just business and have no particular ethnic associations. The third however is a Solomani-supremist cult.
  • The Organization from the Dragaera novels is dominated by (and dominates) House Jhereg, although it also admits outcasts from other Houses and Easterners who buy their way in. Averted by the Left Hand, whose membership is mostly outcast, not Jhereg-born.
  • In the Eclipse Phase setting most ethnic crime gangs with the exception of a few Triads were either wiped out entirely in the Fall or only survived as tattered remnants that eventually joined forces and became the Night Cartel.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • In Morrowind, the Camonna Tong are a native Dunmeri (Dark Elven) crime syndicate fiercely opposed to any foreign presence in Morrowind. They're involved in all manner of Mafia-esque illegal activities, including smuggling, drug running, "protection" rackets, bribery, and won't hesitate for a second to resort to violence if other methods fail. They're also one of the driving forces of Morrowind's (technically legal but frowned upon by the Empire) slave trade. They are led by Orvas Dren, brother of Vedam Dren, the Imperial appointed and quite upstanding Duke of Vvardenfell. Orvas has two Great House Hlaalu councilors in his pocket, effectively giving him veto power over major House Hlaalu policy changes. The Camonna Tong are involved in a gang war with the Thieves' Guild, and are the primary adversaries in that questline. Further, due to what are implied to be gambling debts owed to Orvas by Sjoring Hard-Heart, the leader of the Vvardenfell branch of the Fighters Guild, the Fighters Guild are effectively the muscle for the Camonna Tong. Dealing with this corruption can be done as part of either the Thieves Guild questline or the Fighters guild questline itself.
    • Skyrim has the Summerset Shadows, an all-Altmeri (High Elven) rival of the Thieves Guild. They appear in one Thieves Guild quest and are promptly eliminated.
  • DnD's Eberron campaign setting has four of these in the city of Sharn:
    • The Boromar Clan is composed largely of halflings. Who are something of a Proud Warrior Race in this setting. The patriarch and his immediate family are pretty well respected, in fact his daughter is on the city council, but his cousins from the old country (who act as enforcers) are dinosaur riding barbarians.
    • Daask is a gang of monsters who more or less report directly to the rulers of the monster nation of Droaam.
    • House Tarkanan is made up of people with aberrant dragonmarks, in a twisted parody of the respectable dragonmarked houses.
    • The Tyrants are shapeshifters, mostly changelings but some purebred doppelgangers and a few ofher races as well.
  • In the Supernatural' episode "Bloodlines" (S09, Ep20), Chicago is run by five monster families with the werewolves controlling the Gold Coast and the djinn controlling the South Side.
  • The Bending Triads in The Legend of Korra are divided along the three major ethnicities. The Terra Triad is composed of earthbenders, the Red Monsoons employ waterbenders, and the Agni Kais are firebenders. There's also the Triple Threat Triad, so named because it employs all three.
  • The Giovanni Clan from Vampire: The Masquerade can be summed up as "vampire Mafia" (plus necrophilia and incest). Members do have real world ethnicities, however; the central family is from Venice (which makes them "vampire Mala de Brenta", technically), but have made business-based marriages into families in Mexico (Aztec necromancers), Scotland (Cannibal Clan werewolves), and the American East Coast (Rothschild Expy).
  • Shadowrun has a few gangs made up of specific metatypes, like the Ancients, an all-elf gang known for having training and equipment that rivals that of the military, and the Spikes, an all-troll motorcycle gang known for hating elves.
  • A storyline in Kevin & Kell had Kevin's father in debt to the Bovine Mob.
  • Zootopia has the Tundratown crime organization, following the idea that Zootopia's ethnic neighborhoods are based on biome. The "heavies" are polar bears; the boss is Mr. Big, an arctic shrew; and the organization draws heavily from both Russian and Italian organized crime.
  • Kaijumax: In the titular prison the various Kaiju often form their own gangs depending on what type of creature they are, examples include the Cryps (based on the Aryan Brotherhood), the Maketo (japanese kaiju) and the pacifistic group of religious Humongous Mecha lead by Mechazonn.
  • The Fishface Crime Syndicate from fighting game Schwarzerblitz: a mob exclusively composed by mutant fishmen who's lead by the squid man Go Ottari and manages the smuggling of goods and drugs between Ireland and the UK.
  • A few episodes of Doctor Who and later its spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures, featured various members of the Slitheen gang, an underworld family on the run from their home planet of Raxacoricofallapatorius.


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