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liew

[GUIDE] Chinese-American Tong/Street Gang Roleplay

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liew    63
Posted (edited)

Preface

 

In this guide, I will be mentioning the phrase ‘American Born Chinese’ which for ease of use, I will abbreviate to ABC.

 

The purpose of this guide is essentially to extend some of my personal knowledge to others in an in-depth manner, in an attempt to bolster Chinese-American roleplay. To many, this form of roleplay is quite niche and unfortunately misportrayed by many. The first mistake I see people make when attempting to play a (specifically) Chinese-American character, they immediately believe they speak in thataccent. You know, the “Herro! Wercam to Beijing!” - in reality, there is no ‘Chinese-American’ accent, it’s completely indistinguishable from your typical American accent, depending on where you may be from in the U.S.

 

Generally speaking, many Chinese-American’s  mainly originate from Southern China, from the provinces of Guangdong and in more recent times Hong Kong - this mass immigration is exacerbated by the fact that since the handover of Hong Kong in 1997, many have been seeking economic refuge in the United States. Despite the fact that many ABC speak fluent English, it isn’t exactly uncommon to hear the Cantonese tongue being spoken between family members and fellow ABC’s - this fact is attributed to how the culture has been passed down from generation to generation, and generally speaking the ABC’s are still very homogenous in their own distinct ethnic enclaves in the U.S, for example the numerous Chinatowns in places like Los Angeles, and New York - which brings me onto the next section.

 


American Chinatown’s and their inhabitants

 

In many cities across America, distinctly Chinese neighbourhoods have sprung up in a phenomenon which started in the late 1800s, wherein these neighbourhoods truly began to take form. These areas still retain Chinese culture, and the predominant language - Cantonese - is often heard within such neighbourhoods. Even in the younger generation, which are often taught fluent English often converse in Cantonese with friends and family.

 


 

Tong’s and their long and arduous history

 

unknown.png

 

With the pacific railroad underway on the West-Coast from the mid-1800s up until around the 1890s, America had a labour demand. In this time of need, the Chinese came over in mass droves to help quench this need for labourers. This influx of mass migration was further exacerbated by the gold rush. These labourers did not go for long however without being discriminated against by the majority white population, as they were seen as cheap labour who were merely coming over to take the jobs off of the working class ‘white’ folk due to their willingness to accept such meagre wages - and this is where the Tong associations came into play. In their purest and most ideal form, these buildings were meant to act as social halls, or gathering places for Chinese immigrants working on these projects. ‘Benevolent Associations’ were soon formed to help aid these tongs, and in an ideal scenario these would be just that - benevolent. However, this was not an ideal scenario. These associations and the tong buildings faced extreme hardships and financial issues. This unfortunately meant that many tongs either had to shut down, or resort to criminal activities in meagre attempts to keep the organisations alive.

 

This next section will be directly taken from this as I feel it does a perfect job of explaining what exactly a criminal tong may look like.: https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/Digitization/148447NCJRS.pdf

 

Tongs hold themselves out as, and in some cases are, legitimate business associations. Many of the tongs in the United States are national organisations with chapters in cities that have large Chinese communities. These tongs engage in a variety of legitimate activities and take an active and public role in their communities. On the other hand, tongs also have secret initiation ceremonies, and they are, in some cases, fronts for criminal activities. The economic mainstay of most criminally-influenced tongs is illegal gambling, Not all members of such tongs are involved with illegal activity, but officials and members of such tongs have been known to direct criminal enterprises that include extortion, drug trafficking; robbery, and alien smuggling. Thus, tongs, while not triads, do in some respect imitate triad activity. The typical organisational structure of'a tong is similar to that of a corporation, headed by a president and vice president, officers- often including an auditor, public relations officers, counsel, and collector and the regular members. The regular members typically pay dues and have little involvement in the operation of the tong.

 

The evidence that tong leadership is involved in criminal activities is substantial. In September, 1990, the New York On Leong Tong, along. with local chapters in Chicago and Houston, were indicted on racketeering, gambling, and tax charges. After a 5 month trial, the jury convicted the Chicago On Leong and three other men of tax conspiracy but was deadlocked on the racketeering charges. Other On Leong members were convicted of individual tax charges, and the Houston On Leong plead guilty to racketeering. A retrial on the deadlocked counts is scheduled. In Boston, Harry Mook, a leader of the Chinese Freemasons, recently plead guilty to involvement in a substantial money laundering operation and for bribing Boston police The former president of the Three Mountain Association, a now defunct New York-based tong, is currently jailed on drug charges. In order to protect and further support their criminal activities, tongs have, in many instances, affiliated with Chinese street gangs. Most major New York City tongs are affiliated with a street gang. Kenneth Chu, a former member of both the On Leong Tong and the Ghost Shadows street gang testified to the close association between the Ghost Shadows and the On Leong Tong. He asserted that the Ghost Shadows would not continue to exist without the On Leong.

 


 

Tong Wars

 

unknown.png

 

Crimes that were rife within tongs can range from gambling, to prostitution - to extortion of local businesses. Most of these associations comprised of young and eagre men who wished to delve into the criminal underworld. The word ‘tong’ soon became synonymous with a criminal underworld - further worsened by how these associations often used to battle each other, in a period known as the Tong Wars. This period lasted from around 1880 all the way until the early 1900s, seeing numerous tongs pitting themselves against each other for control over Chinatown’s and their criminal enterprise.

 

These tongs often used men named the ‘boo how doy’, essentially these boys were the hatchet men of the tong, used as muscle. Most of these hatchet men consisted of the lowest of the low, impoverished men who essentially had nothing to lose and thus resorted to working for these tongs.

 

At their core, the tongs were supposed to be legal organisations, so in an attempt to clean their act up they instead employed the use of street gangs whom often did dirty work for the tong. Whilst these street gangs acted mostly on their own terms, allying with certain tongs would certainly bring benefits to these would-be gangsters - as they could use it as a bargaining chip when entering conflict with another more powerful, or weaker street gang as they’d have the backing of such an influential organisation.

 

These wars were most prevalent in cities such as San Francisco and New York, where mass immigration was rife from China, the tong wars were fairly contained in the ethnic enclaves of Chinatown, however this only meant far more bodies piled up, as it was hard to remain safe within these neighbourhoods with such vicious crimes taking place.

 

What brought the end of the Tong Wars? It was by force, the local governments clearly saw that this couldn’t go on, and thus they had to employ the use of force against said tong’s and their street gang subordinates.

 

Notable tongs include (source: wikipedia)

 

  • Bing Kong Tong - California, Washington
  • On Leong Tong - Predominantly in New York
  • Hip Sing Tong - New York
  • Suey Sing Tong - California, Oregon, Washington - even extending so far as to British Columbia in Canada.

 


 

Chinese-American street gangs, and how to properly portray them

 

From around the 1960s, many ABC’s began to form their own street gangs as a means to combat discrimination and racism against them. These were seen very predominantly on the West-Coast of the U.S in cities such as San Francisco which carried quite a large Chinese population. Notable gangs formed in this era include the Wah Ching, Asian Boyz and the Chung Ching Yee, who branded themselves the Joe Boys.

 

Many Chinese-American street gangs take inspiration from latino gangs, and Afro-American gangs - even going so far as to use lingo and their dialects.

 

The general mentality of these street-gangs remain an ethos of the quite a lot of the Chinese people, they’re very forward and confrontational and may often resort to violence. An example of which would be their lack of empathy towards civilian casualties, a prime example being the Golden Dragon Massacre wherein numerous civilian deaths, a few of which were tourists, occurred. This was apart of an ongoing feud betweenJBS (Joe Boys) and the Wah Ching.

 

Most of these street-gangs have a fairly loose ranking system, and most often members are recruited from a very, very young age - mostly in high school. These young boys are often lured in with the promise of wealth and power, which infatuates these boys. A lot of the time, these footsoldiers run businesses of their own, which can range from counterfeit operations to gambling.

 

Many street-gangs choose to align themselves with tongs - even in modern times, with the promises of protection and wealth.

 

I will again be taking a section from this document, https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/Digitization/148447NCJRS.pdf

 

Chinese street gangs generally consist of males in their late teens and early twenties. While some gang-members join voluntarily, others are coerced into joining. Chinese gangs sometimes conduct initiation ceremonies modelled after triad tradition and ritual. While the organisational structure of the Chinese street gangs in the United States appears to vary, all have some type of hierarchical structure. The Ghost Shadows, for example, have three organisational levels. The top level consists of gang leaders referred to as "dai-lo" or big brothers. These leaders are the ones most likely to have contact with other groups and are the farthest removed from the actual execution of any given crime. The second level consists of the lieutenants of the gang who manage the ordinary members. Finally, there are the members, or street soldiers, known as ma-jai (little horse). The soldiers carry out the assignments of the leaders.

 

Chinese street gangs function on two related, but distinct levels. First, the gangs engage in their own independent criminal activities such as extortion and robbery. Second, the street gangs work for and with other Chinese organised crime groups such as tongs or triads. For example, a tong that runs a gambling house may hire a gang to protect the gambling house from other' gangs or from local law enforcement. In exchange, the gang receives the prestige of being associated with the tong and has access to the tong's protection and resources, including lawyers. Gang members often belong to both tongs and gangs.

 


 

The relationship between the Tong and their 'subordinate' street gangs

 

Spoiler

unknown.png

 

In this diagram, you can see how each gang may be affiliated to a specific tong association, e.g the Flying Dragons in New York affiliate themselves with the Hip Sing association, who operate out of the Hip Sing Tong.

 

Going more in-depth into the ranking structure of the tong association itself, most tong buildings consist of a president, a vice-president, a secretary and an auditor along with several elders and public relation ministers (wikipedia) - many tongs run themselves as legal organisations, doing things such a typical NGO charity may do, such as run events, festivals and the likes. However some still remain associated with the criminal underworld.

 

Most street-gangs which are affiliated to tong's often consist of your average run of the mill gangbangers, mostly filled with young Chinese men.

 

Following these men, you'd have the 'Dai Lo' essentially meaning big brother. These men would then report to the 'ah kung' who are pretty much enforcers for the 'gwan dai' or 'red pole' - the Gwan Dai are essentially the top dogs - without going to mainland China wherein the main triad organisations lie. The Gwan Dai pretty much run the tong, with the tong's president being a figurehead of sorts - with no real power over the street gang - at least in the modern day. If need be, the street-gangs could even oust the president of the tong and put someone in favour of their gang in its place. Many gangs may run under one single tong association.

 


Triads in the United States

 

When people start up their own factions, I see many people beginning with Chinese triads - these being the heavily tattoo'd suited men, trawling the back alleys - often taking inspiration solely from the game Sleeping Dogs. The triads are essentially a TV trope, at least to an extent in the United States. It's heavily disputed whether these triad organisations actually have that much prevalence within the U.S, though they're extensively documented within places like Hong Kong and Macau where membership ranges into the tens of thousands. 

 

At least in San Francisco, the only real 'triad' remains to be the Wo Hop To - which since the early 1990s attempted to branch out internationally into the United States. Whilst they experienced early successes in the form of gaining power within the Hop Sing Boys and the Wah Ching (after assassinating their then leader Danny Wong).

 

Not much is known about triads in the United States, apart from the fact that they may in fact be operating there in secrecy. I would personally tend to stray away from triad roleplay, at least in the setting of Los Santos. Whilst there certainly are triad members on the west-coast of the United States, it's nothing to the extent of a full on triad being in operation. If, however, you do choose to start up a triad faction, please keep in mind these organisations are extremely secretive. Often times, you're unable to distinguish your average Joe in Chinatown to a triad member. They're not really your typical suit and tie boys either, many people seem to draw comparisons between the La Cosa Nostra and the Chinese triads in typical TV tropes, however this is certainly not the case.

 

 

Gambling, extortion and prostitution

 

unknown.png

 

In Chinese society, gambling has played a pretty substantial role - I'd personally even consider gambling apart of their culture. Even with most forms of gambling outlawed in mainland China - unregulated and illegal gambling is still rife. With games such as: 'mahong' 'sic bo' or 'pai gow' many of these games tend to have quite a long history in China - with mahjong being around since the formation of the Qing dynasty.

 

Prevalence in the United States; gambling is extremely popular in many Chinese communities. Most of this gambling remains unregulated and illegal, with many back alley games taking place. In fact, you're extremely likely to see places like mahjong parlours cropping up in tong buildings due to the fact that they aren't exactly easy to regulate. 

 

In Chinatown districts, it's more than likely you can see a member of these tongs on a daily basis. Not only this, but also members of a street gang in the local area. They tend to try and blend in a little bit - in terms of extorting local businesses, this practice still remains quite common. People are often afraid to report such to the local authorities due to the fact that it would simply put their lives in danger.

 

Asian gangs also take advantage of legal gambling venues to further their criminal activities. Legal casinos operating in Nevada and Atlantic City, as well as legal card clubs in California, have, in recent years, made special efforts to attract Asian customers. The marketing efforts of the various casinos have attracted not only the legitimate gambler, but some Asian organised crime figures as well. Numerous Asian organised crime figures, including some from Hong Kong, patronise American casinos. They are usually known as "high rollers" who gamble for high stakes. They are suspected of laundering money through the casinos. Efforts have been made by Asian organised crime members to become involved in legal gambling operations by means of purchasing ownership interests, subcontracting to operate Asian games or other services, and by providing Asian entertainment.

 

Onto prostitution - quite a touchy subject on roleplay servers. In real life, prostitution carries a long history in Chinatown. This was exacerbated by the fact that many tongs and 'triads' specialised in people smuggling. This was mainly due to the numerous bills being passed to restrict Chinese immigration, such as the Chinese Exclusion act of 1882 - this law was extended again in 1892. This meant that those still living within the U.S couldn't reunite with their families, as they'd be denied entry. This ensued a mass wave of people smuggling. At the time, the Asian population was mainly men. With many Chinatowns being dominated with 90% of the population being men, this led to said people smugglers bringing in women to work as prostitutes, and to marry the local men. 

 

As it stands in modern times, the adult film industry remains a prime example of these organisations poking their fingers into the adult industry. Prostitutes are often far more low-key in Chinatowns, given how they remain quite touristy and conservative - however it's not uncommon to find them in back alleyways. Most of these are affiliated to bigger crime rings, and most of the time - street gangs.

 


 

Roleplaying a Chinese or Chinese-American character

 

The 'fresh off the boat' immigrant, commonly known as a first-generation immigrant today mainly consist of those from Hong Kong, Macau and southern China. The mass immigration the United States is currently receiving from Hong Kong and Macau can be attributed to the handovers of both cities, with H.K being handed over in 1997 and Macau in 1999. Most of these immigrants tend to be economic migrants, fleeing the communistic government for fear of persecution. Whilst Hong Kong operates a one country two systems policy (essentially Hong Kong is apart of the People's Republic of China - however it currently operates with its own system) this hasn't stopped mass droves of people leaving Hong Kong to seek the American dream.

 

As such, this has led to more waves of immigration into the U.S - it's not particularly uncommon to see broken English and the Hong Kong accent being spoken in Chinatown's across U.S cities. A lot of immigration also comes due to students, especially in the setting we roleplay in - Los Santos. Many Chinese immigrants may be coming in to study in the Los Santos University, much like in real life Los Angeles. These students tend to be typically more educated than the common labourers who came over decades prior, and often have some sort of English capabilities - though accents are still prevalent.

 

If roleplaying second-generation, or even third-generation it's highly likely you'd have gone to a typical American school and speak fluent English. Many Chinese families are rather closely knit, and often parents do indeed pass on their language onto their children. Some children of Chinese parents may speak Cantonese and Mandarin, though this is more often found in Chinatown districts where Chinese is still the dominant language and commonly used on the streets to talk with friends. 

 

The typical jobs vary, if roleplaying a first-generation immigrant 'labourer' it'd be unlikely you'd be working outside of Chinatown - given language barriers. Though, it wouldn't be unlikely to see such labourers working at the docks, or in the construction business as the Chinese people are very, very hard workers as seen from their long and arduous history in the United States. In Chinese society however, money is king - and that brings me onto my next point.

 


 

The Importance of Face

 

Essentially, face can be defined by your 'dignity' or 'prestige' within a community. Quite literally the worst thing that can happen to someone within a Chinese community is 'losing face' - it's something so distinctly Chinese, that it's almost unheard of anywhere else. An old Chinese saying goes  “Men can’t live without face, trees can’t live without bark.” Essentially in Laymen terms, a person's face is a person's reputation.

 

Causing someone to lose face can be considered one of the worst disrespects possible. Actions that may lose face may be as minute as disrespecting your elders, or calling somebody out on a lie. Ways of showing face may be giving somebody praise, giving an expensive gift or something like that. 

 

A thing to note, face is definitely more prevalent in the older generation. Those who may be first-generation immigrants are also familiar to the concept of face, a Chinese-American kid off the street would probably care less what his elders think of him.

 


 

Roleplaying an illegal alien

 

unknown.png

 

I cannot stress enough how important it is to realistically portray an illegal alien, if going down this rather niche avenue of roleplay. A lot of the time, people I see often can't stay true to their character and may 'asspull' objects for their own gain for fear of a CK. If roleplaying an illegal alien, you should ALWAYS fear CK, not only from the police and ICE, but also those who actually 'smuggled' you in.

 

Chinese alien smuggling rings have been increasingly active in recent years. There is evidence that organised Asian criminals attracted by the high profits, up to $30,000 per head, and low risks (penalties, even if smugglers are caught, are low). Most smuggling organisations have 'snakeheads', essentially these snakeheads are the ones who will be transporting you over to the United States. Most of these illegal immigrants hail from the poorest regions of China, namely Fujian in the P.R.C which, as it stands, remains the most common birthplace of these illegal immigrants. In fact, an INS agent recalls saying "If you have $30,000 and live in Fujian Province, there is no reason to leave because you are one of the richest people there."

 

The actual process may require you to be first taken to somewhere like Bangkok, where you'll then be transported to central America or in some cases South America, this is usually because visas are able to be easily bought by the Snakeheads - whether this exodus is by air or sea is usually determined by which is the safest option for the Snakehead. 

 

Most of these people have little money to pay the smugglers when they actually arrive in the States, and thus are indebted to these smuggling organisations and often times street gangs are recruited to put pressure on illegals, even resorting to kidnappings and extortion.

 

Roleplaying an illegal can be a very interesting experience, and if done correctly can produce extremely entertaining roleplay. A thing to note, most of these illegals come from the poorest regions of China and thus wouldn't be particularly educated, and so a language barrier would certainly be a factor to put in place when roleplaying an illegal. This would most likely mean you'd have ZERO knowledge on English whatsoever, although this can vary from person to person. 

 

Sources and Reading Material

 

https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/Digitization/148447NCJRS.pdf - A bit outdated, published in 1992. Considered in-depth and a fairly long read. This is what I referred to most when making this guide.

 

http://www.unexplainedstuff.com/Secret-Societies/The-Tongs.html - History of the Tongs.

 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1kUZrFLq5t2HVsGpqCSQcUenkAyBggvg__N_wrc2kJRI/edit#gid=0 - Cantonese slang guide, made by Apophis on LSRP.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tong_(organization) - Basic overview of what a Tong actually is.

 

End Note | This can probably be considered a WIP, I'll definitely be adding more upon this as my knowledge expands on this subject - which I'll hopefully be able to share via this guide. If anybody notices any mistakes or you have any questions, please feel free to post them down below!

 

As it stands now, this is more of a summary, as opposed to an in-depth guide.

 

Inspired by Chef and Caporegime's LCN Roleplay Guide.

Edited by liew
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Gall    57

Good stuff, very well written and informative. Looking forward to updates!

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Chef    304

Fantastic.

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Joey    5

Job well done.

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liew    63
Posted (edited)

Added the sections below:

 

Roleplaying a Chinese or Chinese-American character

Spoiler

The 'fresh off the boat' immigrant, commonly known as a first-generation immigrant today mainly consist of those from Hong Kong, Macau and southern China. The mass immigration the United States is currently receiving from Hong Kong and Macau can be attributed to the handovers of both cities, with H.K being handed over in 1997 and Macau in 1999. Most of these immigrants tend to be economic migrants, fleeing the communistic government for fear of persecution. Whilst Hong Kong operates a one country two systems policy (essentially Hong Kong is apart of the People's Republic of China - however it currently operates with its own system) this hasn't stopped mass droves of people leaving Hong Kong to seek the American dream.

 

As such, this has led to more waves of immigration into the U.S - it's not particularly uncommon to see broken English and the Hong Kong accent being spoken in Chinatown's across U.S cities. A lot of immigration also comes due to students, especially in the setting we roleplay in - Los Santos. Many Chinese immigrants may be coming in to study in the Los Santos University, much like in real life Los Angeles. These students tend to be typically more educated than the common labourers who came over decades prior, and often have some sort of English capabilities - though accents are still prevalent.

 

If roleplaying second-generation, or even third-generation it's highly likely you'd have gone to a typical American school and speak fluent English. Many Chinese families are rather closely knit, and often parents do indeed pass on their language onto their children. Some children of Chinese parents may speak Cantonese and Mandarin, though this is more often found in Chinatown districts where Chinese is still the dominant language and commonly used on the streets to talk with friends. 

 

The typical jobs vary, if roleplaying a first-generation immigrant 'labourer' it'd be unlikely you'd be working outside of Chinatown - given language barriers. Though, it wouldn't be unlikely to see such labourers working at the docks, or in the construction business as the Chinese people are very, very hard workers as seen from their long and arduous history in the United States. In Chinese society however, money is king - and that brings me onto my next point.

 

The Importance of Face

Spoiler

Essentially, face can be defined by your 'dignity' or 'prestige' within a community. Quite literally the worst thing that can happen to someone within a Chinese community is 'losing face' - it's something so distinctly Chinese, that it's almost unheard of anywhere else. An old Chinese saying goes  “Men can’t live without face, trees can’t live without bark.” Essentially in Laymen terms, a person's face is a person's reputation.

 

Causing someone to lose face can be considered one of the worst disrespects possible. Actions that may lose face may be as minute as disrespecting your elders, or calling somebody out on a lie. Ways of showing face may be giving somebody praise, giving an expensive gift or something like that. 

 

A thing to note, face is definitely more prevalent in the older generation. Those who may be first-generation immigrants are also familiar to the concept of face, a Chinese-American kid off the street would probably care less what his elders think of him.

 

Edited by liew

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liew    63

Added the sections below:

 

Gambling, extortion and prostitution

Spoiler

In Chinese society, gambling has played a pretty substantial role - I'd personally even consider gambling apart of their culture. Even with most forms of gambling outlawed in mainland China - unregulated and illegal gambling is still rife. With games such as: 'mahong' 'sic bo' or 'pai gow' many of these games tend to have quite a long history in China - with mahjong being around since the formation of the Qing dynasty.

 

Prevalence in the United States; gambling is extremely popular in many Chinese communities. Most of this gambling remains unregulated and illegal, with many back alley games taking place. In fact, you're extremely likely to see places like mahjong parlours cropping up in tong buildings due to the fact that they aren't exactly easy to regulate. 

 

In Chinatown districts, it's more than likely you can see a member of these tongs on a daily basis. Not only this, but also members of a street gang in the local area. They tend to try and blend in a little bit - in terms of extorting local businesses, this practice still remains quite common. People are often afraid to report such to the local authorities due to the fact that it would simply put their lives in danger.

 

Onto prostitution - quite a touchy subject on roleplay servers. In real life, prostitution carries a long history in Chinatown. This was exacerbated by the fact that many tongs and 'triads' specialised in people smuggling. This was mainly due to the numerous bills being passed to restrict Chinese immigration, such as the Chinese Exclusion act of 1882 - this law was extended again in 1892. This meant that those still living within the U.S couldn't reunite with their families, as they'd be denied entry. This ensued a mass wave of people smuggling. At the time, the Asian population was mainly men. With many Chinatowns being dominated with 90% of the population being men, this led to said people smugglers bringing in women to work as prostitutes, and to marry the local men. 

 

As it stands in modern times, the adult film industry remains a prime example of these organisations poking their fingers into the adult industry. Prostitutes are often far more low-key in Chinatowns, given how they remain quite touristy and conservative - however it's not uncommon to find them in back alleyways. Most of these are affiliated to bigger crime rings, and most of the time - street gangs.

 

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liew    63

Inside the spoilers is the added content.

 

Added: 

Sources and Reading Material

 

Elaborated on:

 

Chinese-American street gangs, and how to properly portray them

Spoiler

Chinese street gangs generally consist of males in their late teens and early twenties. While some gang-members join voluntarily, others are coerced into joining. Chinese gangs sometimes conduct initiation ceremonies modelled after triad tradition and ritual. While the organisational structure of the Chinese street gangs in the United States appears to vary, all have some type of hierarchical structure. The Ghost Shadows, for example, have three organisational levels. The top level consists of gang leaders referred to as "dai-lo" or big brothers. These leaders are the ones most likely to have contact with other groups and are the farthest removed from the actual execution of any given crime. The second level consists of the lieutenants of the gang who manage the ordinary members. Finally, there are the members, or street soldiers, known as ma-jai (little horse). The soldiers carry out the assignments of the leaders.

 

Chinese street gangs function on two related, but distinct levels. First, the gangs engage in their own independent criminal activities such as extortion and robbery. Second, the street gangs work for and with other Chinese organised crime groups such as tongs or triads. For example, a tong that runs a gambling house may hire a gang to protect the gambling house from other' gangs or from local law enforcement. In exchange, the gang receives the prestige of being associated with the tong and has access to the tong's protection and resources, including lawyers. Gang members often belong to both tongs and gangs.

Tong’s and their long and arduous history

Spoiler

Tongs hold themselves out as, and in some cases are, legitimate business associations. Many of the tongs in the United States are national organisations with chapters in cities that have large Chinese communities. These tongs engage in a variety of legitimate activities and take an active and public role in their communities. On the other hand, tongs also have secret initiation ceremonies, and they are, in some cases, fronts for criminal activities. The economic mainstay of most criminally-influenced tongs is illegal gambling, Not all members of such tongs are involved with illegal activity, but officials and members of such tongs have been known to direct criminal enterprises that include extortion, drug trafficking; robbery, and alien smuggling. Thus, tongs, while not triads, do in some respect imitate triad activity. The typical organisational structure of'a tong is similar to that of a corporation, headed by a president and vice president, officers- often including an auditor, public relations officers, counsel, and collector and the regular members. The regular members typically pay dues and have little involvement in the operation of the tong.

 

The evidence that tong leadership is involved in criminal activities is substantial. In September, 1990, the New York On Leong Tong, along. with local chapters in Chicago and Houston, were indicted on racketeering, gambling, and tax charges. After a 5 month trial, the jury convicted the Chicago On Leong and three other men of tax conspiracy but was deadlocked on the racketeering charges. Other On Leong members were convicted of individual tax charges, and the Houston On Leong plead guilty to racketeering. A retrial on the deadlocked counts is scheduled. In Boston, Harry Mook, a leader of the Chinese Freemasons, recently plead guilty to involvement in a substantial money laundering operation and for bribing Boston police The former president of the Three Mountain Association, a now defunct New York-based tong, is currently jailed on drug charges. In order to protect and further support their criminal activities, tongs have, in many instances, affiliated with Chinese street gangs. Most major New York City tongs are affiliated with a street gang. Kenneth Chu, a former member of both the On Leong Tong and the Ghost Shadows street gang testified to the close association between the Ghost Shadows and the On Leong Tong. He asserted that the Ghost Shadows would not continue to exist without the On Leong.

 

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liew    63

Added the section below:

 

Roleplaying an illegal alien

Spoiler

I cannot stress enough how important it is to realistically portray an illegal alien, if going down this rather niche avenue of roleplay. A lot of the time, people I see often can't stay true to their character and may 'asspull' objects for their own gain for fear of a CK. If roleplaying an illegal alien, you should ALWAYS fear CK, not only from the police and ICE, but also those who actually 'smuggled' you in.

 

Chinese alien smuggling rings have been increasingly active in recent years. There is evidence that organised Asian criminals attracted by the high profits, up to $30,000 per head, and low risks (penalties, even if smugglers are caught, are low). Most smuggling organisations have 'snakeheads', essentially these snakeheads are the ones who will be transporting you over to the United States. Most of these illegal immigrants hail from the poorest regions of China, namely Fujian in the P.R.C which, as it stands, remains the most common birthplace of these illegal immigrants. In fact, an INS agent recalls saying "If you have $30,000 and live in Fujian Province, there is no reason to leave because you are one of the richest people there."

 

The actual process may require you to be first taken to somewhere like Bangkok, where you'll then be transported to central America or in some cases South America, this is usually because visas are able to be easily bought by the Snakeheads - whether this exodus is by air or sea is usually determined by which is the safest option for the Snakehead. 

 

Most of these people have little money to pay the smugglers when they actually arrive in the States, and thus are indebted to these smuggling organisations and often times street gangs are recruited to put pressure on illegals, even resorting to kidnappings and extortion.

 

Roleplaying an illegal can be a very interesting experience, and if done correctly can produce extremely entertaining roleplay. A thing to note, most of these illegals come from the poorest regions of China and thus wouldn't be particularly educated, and so a language barrier would certainly be a factor to put in place when roleplaying an illegal. This would most likely mean you'd have ZERO knowledge on English whatsoever, although this can vary from person to person. 

 

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