Organized Crime News

Information and statistics about organized crime groups and their activities around the world. Gang intelligence is collected from public criminal justice information and other available sources.

For key statistics and information, see the main Organized Crime page

A hitman for the Italian Mafia told explained to police how much he was paid for committing a murder on behalf of organized crime.

According to press reports, the man told police he would charge $3,700 to kneecap a person.

In two of the murders that he confessed to, the hitman stated that he was paid nearly $20,000 to deal a cocaine dealer, and $27,000 for killing a loan shark.

(See more prices of murders committed by contract hitmen.)

Source:  David Harding, “Mafia hitman in Italy tells investigators how much he charged for different jobs, including more than $20K for murder,” New York Daily News, March 7, 2015.

The agency responsible for anti-money laundering campaigns in Singapore reported an increase in cases during 2013.

According to the Commercial Affairs Department, the agency received 22,417 suspicious transaction reports during the 2013 year, and increase of 25 percent from the previous year. In 341 instances, the agency provided intelligence to foreign agencies, up from the 160 cases of intelligence sharing that took place in 2012.

In total, security officials in Singapore seized over $92 Million (115 Million Singaporean Dollars) in suspected criminal proceeds.

According to a spokesman for the agency, more transnational organized crime groups are using the country’s financial industry in order to move their illicit funds.

(Examples of money laundering.)

Source: Andrea Tan, “Singapore Says More Overseas Criminals Seek Bank Accounts,” Bloomberg Businessweek, July 2, 2014.

A man in Monaco paid a pair of hitmen over $330,000 (€250,000) in cash and gifts to kill his mother-in-law.

Wojciech Janowski previously serviced as Poland’s honorary counsel in Monaco and was married to the daughter of a heiress. In an attempt to gain access to the wealth of the mother-in-law, Janowski paid $272,000 (€200,000) in cash and an additional $67,000 (€50,000) in gifts.

Security officials do not believe that the wife of Janowski and the daughter of the victim had anything to do with the contract killing.

Source: AFP, “Son-in-law charged with contract killing of Monaco heiress,” Channel NewsAsia, June 28, 2014.

According to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme and Interpol, black market smuggling of charcoal across Africa causes losses up to $9 Billion a year across the continent, with governments losing at least $1.9 Billion in tax revenue. The value of the illegal charcoal trade in Africa is reportedly three times the amount of the continent’s illegal drug trade.

Security and intelligence agencies believe that terrorist groups, militias and organized crime syndicates earn up to $289 Million from the illegal charcoal sale. By comparison, the groups make about $12 Million a year from black market ivory sales.

Al-Shabaab, a militant group based in Somalia, is believed to earn between $38 Million to $68 Million  from black market charcoal sales and taxation per year.

Source: Hannah McNeish, “$213bn illegal wildlife and charcoal trade ‘funding global terror groups’,” Guardian, June 24, 2014.

In a report by Human Rights Watch, a death squad organized on the southern island of Mindanao in the Philippines were reportedly being paid $110 per killing of drug dealers, thieves and even children.

The death squad was reportedly organized by the may of Tagum City, who paid the hit men a monthly salary of $220 and issued .45 caliber handguns and motorcycles. The main task of the squad was to kill “weeds,” or criminals who were viewed as problems for the city. In addition to the criminals, the hitmen would also conduct for profit killings, such as assassinating  a judge or other local politicians.

(See more cost to hire a hitman here.)

Source:  Phelim Kine, “$110 Per Hit,” Foreign Policy, May 22, 2014.

Criminal justice agencies in Israel are reporting a rise in advanced explosive attacks being carried out by organized crime groups. The groups are conducting assassinations and attacks with the use of explosives and other materials stolen from security forces.

All men in Israel must serve in the military. Thus, organized crime members are well versed in handling explosives. Due to their expertise, many of the hits placed by the syndicates are well made and leave no fingerprints. The bomb makers are able to create targeted explosions and precise detonators that are able to kill their target.

The materials for the bombs are collected from various sources. Some are stolen from military depots, while other are home made. According to reports, there are many grenades for sale on the black market in Israel for $287 (1,000 Israeli Shekels).

(More prices of guns and weapons on the black market.)

In addition to the explosive skills, many crime groups also use their training in surveillance and intelligence collection. A raid on a safe house by police in February 2014 found that the criminals were tracking rivals through the use of advanced cellphone tracking software. The rivals location was being displayed on high-resolution monitors, with additional screens dedicated to street level surveillance conducted by gang members.

In 2013, police forces arrested about 500 members of major Israeli organized crime groups.

Source:  Jeff Moskowitz, “Israel’s Nightmare: Mobsters Trained by Country’s Own Military,” NBC News, April 24, 2014.

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) that is fighting in Syria is estimated to be collecting over $1 Million a month from extortion rackets in Northern Iraq.

According to intelligence from security agencies, the group has expanded on collecting payments from businesses and shop owners since late 2012 and into 2013. The group runs its extortion rackets in the city of Mosul.

In an example of the type of demands made, a computer repair shop owner was told to pay $114,000 for jihad, according to a report in NPR. The group would call the man and tell him to leave the money in a bag. The man never saw the individuals, and was threatened that the ISIS has many people working for them to kill those that do not pay the extortion fee.

(More information on how organized crime extort money.)

Source:  Alice Fordham, “For Extremists In Syria, Extortion Brings Piles Of Cash From Iraq,” NPR, April 21, 2014.

According to a report by Grant Thornton, cybercrime activities costs the economy of Ireland up to $822 Million (€600 Million) per year.

The number of security data breaches reported in 2012 increased by 32 percent when compared to the previous year. Officials with the Data Protection Commissioner state that the number of data breaches reported to criminal justice programs is likely underreported due to concerns about reputation damages.

55 percent of the cybercrime that targets Ireland is through the work of transnational organized crime rings and are based in foreign nations.

Source:  “Cybercrime costs Irish economy €630m a year,” RTE News, April 3, 2014.

In 2013, there were 8,042 reported extortion cases in Mexico, according to statistics released by the Federal Government. The number of extortion cases reported was higher than the 7,272 extortion cases reported in Mexico in 2012.

In the State of Mexico, 1,688 extortion cases were reported in 2013, a 58 percent increase in the number of reports compared to 2012.

In contrast, the number of murders committed in Mexico dropped by more than 16 percent in 2013.

Security experts state that extortion has a negative impact on Mexico’s economy by discouraging investments into the community by businesses.

Source:  Karl Baker, “Mexico’s rising threat: extortion,” Christian Science Monitor, March 19, 2014.

The National Police Agency in Japan reported that the number of members in Japanese organized crime groups totaled 58,600 in 2013. The number of Yakuza members in 2013 was lower than the 63,200 reported in 2012.

This is the first time on record that the number of Yakuza members across the country was below 60,000.

Security experts in Japan state that there are various reasons for the decline in membership. Police have recently introduced tougher enforcement against the Yakuza, as well as a poor public image and a slowing Japanese economy has made the life of a gangster much more difficult in the country.

The largest Yakuza group in Japan is still the Yamaguchi-gumi. The group had a total of 25,700 members in 2013, a decline of 2,000 members from the year before. The second largest gang, the Sumiyoski-kai, had 9,500 gangsters on its roll, a decline of 1,100 from the previous year.

Source:  AFP, “Membership of Japan’s yakuza crime gangs falls to all-time low,” Guardian, March 6, 2014.