Green Gang

Green Gang

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The Green Gang was a Chinese criminal organization
Organized crime
Organized crime or criminal organizations are transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit. Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist organizations, are...

 that operated in Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

 in the early 20th century.

Origins


It was a secret society established originally by Fong Toh-tak of Shaolin Monastery to protect the Han Chinese
Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...

 who were oppressed by the Manchu
Manchu
The Manchu people or Man are an ethnic minority of China who originated in Manchuria . During their rise in the 17th century, with the help of the Ming dynasty rebels , they came to power in China and founded the Qing Dynasty, which ruled China until the Xinhai Revolution of 1911, which...

 rulers of the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

, and to restore the fallen Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

.

History


By the 20th century it had acquired such wealth and power that it had become corrupt, and included many successful businessmen. Under Du Yuesheng
Du Yuesheng
Du Yuesheng , commonly known as "Big-Eared Du", was a Chinese gangster who spent much of his life in Shanghai. He was a key supporter of the Kuomintang and Chiang Kai-shek in their battle against the Communists during the 1920s, and was a figure of some importance during the Second Sino-Japanese...

, it controlled the criminal activities in the entire city of Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

. The Green Gang focused on opium
Opium
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

 (which was supported by local warlord
Warlord
A warlord is a person with power who has both military and civil control over a subnational area due to armed forces loyal to the warlord and not to a central authority. The term can also mean one who espouses the ideal that war is necessary, and has the means and authority to engage in war...

s), extortion
Extortion
Extortion is a criminal offence which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion. Refraining from doing harm is sometimes euphemistically called protection. Extortion is commonly practiced by organized crime...

, gambling
Gambling
Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods...

, and prostitution
Prostitution
Prostitution is the act or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment. The person who receives payment for sexual services is called a prostitute and the person who receives such services is known by a multitude of terms, including a "john". Prostitution is one of...

. Shanghai was the vice capital of the world at that time.

The Green Gang was often hired by Chiang Kai shek' GMD to break up union meetings and labor strikes, and was also involved in the Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

. Carrying the name of the Society for Common Progress, it was responsible for the White Terror massacre of approximately 5,000 pro-Communist
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 strikers in Shanghai in April 1927, which was ordered by Nationalist
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 leader Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

. Chiang granted Du Yuesheng the rank of general
Jiang (rank)
Jiang is the rank held by general officers in the military of both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China. The People's Liberation Army uses three grades at present while the Republic of China uses four, with the rank equivalent to the fourth being treated as a field officer...

 in the Nationalist Revolutionary Army later.

The Green Gang was a major financial supporter of Chiang Kai-shek, who became acquainted with the gang when he lived in Shanghai from 1915 to 1923. The Green Gang shared its profits from the drug trade with the Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

after the creation of the Opium Suppression Bureau.

Sources


The Shanghai Green Gang: Politics and Organized Crime, 1919-1937 by Brian G. Martin is a scholarly account of their most important period.