Merriam-Webster defines the term ‘gang’ as “a group of persons working together: a group of persons working to unlawful or antisocial ends; especially: a band of antisocial adolescents.” It’s true that gangs are often times unlawful and reckless but there’s so much more to gangs that the world is yet to know about.
Small gangs are scattered throughout the streets and neighborhoods. Most of the crimes these small gangs get into are petty and minuscule. At least they are considered as that once compared to what bigger and more developed gangs get into. Though we may not hear about the Yakuza, the Crips, the Bloods and other gangs on the news every day, they operate at a rapid rate and are becoming more dangerous with each recruited member.
There are a lot of organized gangs in the world spread throughout various places in each continent. These gangs are responsible for a ton of criminal offenses which include human and drug trafficking, kidnapping and of course, murder. Some gangs standout among the sea of known gangs in the world and some are far more dangerous than the others as well.
Gangs don’t always originate from populated and advanced countries. Even smaller and less advanced areas are home to notorious gangs. When this does happen, the gangs that come out are ruthless and resourceful. The same can be said for Kenya’s Mungiki gang.
This banned ethnic group’s name roughly translates to 'united people'. Rather than functioning like many other gangs out there, the Mungiki operates like a cult. By this, we mean the Mungiki partakes in very bizarre rituals which include drinking jerrycans of human blood.
The group operates in a slum called Nathare. The people living in these slums have to pay a fine to the Mungiki in exchange for protection. The gang extorts money from the use of public utility structures like toilets and others. Aside from robbing people dry, the Mungiki also engages in beheading their victims.
Gangs come from many corners of the world. Some originate in prisons, some originate in underground societies. One of the largest types of gangs are street gangs and in America, there are two leading gangs that rule the street. One of those gangs is the clad in blue Crips.
The Crips are a primarily African-American gang whose origin dates back in 1969 in Los Angeles, California. The gang had an estimated population of 30,000 to 35,000 back in 2008. It’d be no surprise if there are a few Crips members in our neighborhood.
When it comes to evil biddings, the Crips have been involved in murders, robberies and drug dealing, among other crimes. The Crips show their worst whenever they go into a fight against their bitter rivals, the Bloods.
13 Cosa Nostra
Originating from Sicily, Italy, the Cosa Nostra is one of the most dangerous extensions of the Sicilian Mafia. The Cosa Nostra is very calculated when it comes to the crimes they commit and they are rather violent. This Sicilian gang partakes in crimes such as murder, drug trafficking, and many others.
Sicilian Mafia is prone to more violence as compared to American Mafia. This is most likely because of the size of the mafia families in the Sicilian Mafia. Smaller and more numerous, Sicilian gangs are more hostile against each other because there’s a lack of competition and power.
Though the Cosa Nostra isn’t as popular as other gangs, they are still one of the most dangerous simply because of how much they influence the political structure in Sicily. This, of course, means that once you have a bad run-in with the Cosa Nostra, it’s almost impossible to get out.
12 Los Zetas
At the other end of the spectrum in Mexico’s prominent drug problem is the Los Zetas who are the bitter rivals of yet another dangerous gang, the Sinaloa Cartel. Acts of crime such as murder, drug trafficking and much more have been linked to the Los Zetas but there’s more to this gang than meets the eye.
According to the US government, the Los Zetas is one of the most technologically advanced, sophisticated, ruthless and dangerous cartels to ever roam Mexico. Both those involved and uninvolved with the drug circuit in Mexico are very fearful of the Los Zetas.
The Los Zetas employ the use of brutal tactics to deal with competition and enemies. These tactics include beheadings and slaughter so that their rivals become intimidated by them. Mexico is the main witness to what Los Zetas is capable of and everyone there knows why they are very dangerous.
11 14k Triad
Triads are branches of Chinese crime syndicates. The term originates from a secret society in ancient China and to this date, the transnational crime syndicate spreads its influence over countries with a significant Chinese population like the United States, Canada, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Spain, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Out of all the Triads in China, the 14k stands as one of the biggest and most notorious in existence. The 14k Triad’s crime focus is on drug trafficking. Specifically, the triad exports drugs like heroin and opium in Southeast Asia.
The group has also been known to commit crimes such as human trafficking, murder, home invasion, smuggling and much more. What makes the 14k Triad so dangerous is that they have members all over the globe.
10 Sinaloa Cartel
When it comes to violence alone, the Mexican cartels are on top of the list and the world is all too familiar with what Mexican cartels are capable of. Narrowing down the list even further, the Sinaloa Cartel is perhaps one of the most active, prominent and of course, violent cartels in Mexico.
The Sinaloa Cartel focuses on drug trafficking. However, several horrendous crimes have been done by the cartel as told by the citizens of Mexico. Their murders range from beheadings to burning alive and it’s not very wise to bump with this gang.
At the head of the Sinaloa Cartel is none other than El Chapo. That tells a lot about this cartel already as El Chapo is one of the most notorious gangsters out there. Despite not being in any position in the government, El Chapo has been on several lists of the most powerful people in the world thanks to his influence but that was before he was put behind bars.
9 Mara Salvatrucha (aka MS-13)
The Mara Salvatrucha, like some of the most dangerous gangs in the US, originated from Los Angeles, California. The gang also known as MS-13 was established back in the 1980s. They have since reached other parts of the US, Canada, Mexico and Central America.
The Mara Salvatrucha is very ruthless and is one of the deadliest gangs in the world. The gang has more than 70,000 members and the number continues to grow. What makes the Mara Salvatrucha more deadly is the fact that they don’t discriminate when it comes to their victims.
The gang has been known to murder people regardless of gender, age, and race. As long as they see them as enemies or as a threat, they will ruthlessly dispose of them.
The Yakuza is perhaps the most popular gang in the world. They have been depicted as ruthless, loyal and violent thugs in various forms of media and that alone should say a lot about this gang with Japanese origins. What we see on screen, in books, and in games aren’t misrepresenting the Yakuza, they are dangerous.
Though originating from Japan originally, the Yakuza have global influence by having members from all parts of the globe. With an estimated 102,000 members, the Yakuza is one of the biggest gangs in history. The numbers aren’t much to be afraid of though as internal conflict often plague the ranks of the Yakuza.
When joining this Japanese gang, recruits are required to completely cut ties with their family to show how loyal they are to the gang. The Yakuza are known to sever their thumbs whenever they make a mistake. If they can do that to themselves over a petty mistake, what more can the Yakuza do to their enemies?
7 Aryan Brotherhood
You know a gang is dangerous when it uses the Swastika as one of its symbols. The Aryan Brotherhood is one of the most violent and brutal gangs in the US. The group is a white supremacist prison gang that is to be held accounted for many prison murders in the US.
The Aryan Brotherhood wants possible recruits to first murder another prisoner if they ever want a chance at joining this vicious gang whose main goal is to simply kill. Once you get in though, there’s no way out and if you really do want out, expect to do so in a body bag.
The group makes up less than 0.1% of the prison population but this small number is responsible for 30% of murders in federal prison. Aside from killing, the group also tries its hand at drug trafficking, inmate prostitution, and murder-for-hire while in prison.
6 18th Street Gang
The streets of Los Angeles have been the origin of many gangs which include the Bloods and Crips. The 18th Street Gang also hails from Los Angeles and though they aren’t as popular or prominent as the Bloods and Crips, the 18th Street Gang doesn’t lack in violence and ruthlessness. The 18th Street Gang often recruits elementary and high school students. This led to them being called “The Children’s Army.”
Despite being a street gang, the 18th Street Gang operate and calculate their crimes rather smoothly. They’re involved in drug and murder related crimes. They’re not only ruthless to members of the society but also to members of their gang as well. Failure to abide by the set of rules of the gang could lead to receiving an 18-second beating or even an execution.
There are two major street gangs in America; the Crips and the clad in red Bloods. Similar to the Crips, the Bloods are a highly organized crime group comprise of several members following a hierarchy. First starting out in Los Angeles, the Bloods have since expanded to other parts of the US.
The Bloods can be broken down into one of the numerous sub-groups which are called sets. There are differences in each of these sets which include color choice, clothing, operations and political ideas. Bloods can also get into conflict with each other because of these differences.
The Bloods population is very big and that’s why members are found all over the United States. They're most known for the widespread distribution of cocaine in the 80s. Drugs aren’t the only thing keeping the Bloods busy as they partake in violent acts as well. Especially when it comes to their bitter rivals, the Crips.
4 Primeiro Comando Da Capital
The Primeiro Comando da Capital or PCC is Brazil’s largest criminal organization. This highly-organized gang’s name roughly translates to First Command of the Capital and that explains a lot about their influence in Brazil and its branches of government. Regardless of how the governing bodies take a stand against this gang, the Primeiro Comando da Capital always has the upper hand.
The Primeiro Comando da Capital’s main base of operations is somewhere in Sao Paolo. Aside from Sao Paolo, the gang has connections in 22 out of the 27 Brazil states. The gang has more than 15,000 members. Almost half the members are in prison but that isn’t stopping their widespread influence over Brazil. When it comes to criminal offenses, the Primeiro Comando da Capital is responsible for prison related crimes such as prison breaks and prison riots.
3 United Bamboo
Triads are next to the mafia when it comes to how calculative they are. Triads aren’t solely exclusive to China anymore as the population of triads has gotten so big; a few original triads have spawned in some parts outside of China. One of the most dangerous triads hailing from outside China is the United Bamboo from Taiwan.
Henry Liu was killed in his own garage in an assassination organized by the United Bamboo. The gang isn’t too afraid of keeping people quiet so you definitely don't want to cross their path. The gang is also involved in human and drug trafficking and their main weapons are guns above anything else. What makes the United Bamboo even scarier is the fact that they maintain a good relationship with gangs from all over the world. This is to ensure that their operations run smoothly.
2 Barrio Azteca
When a gang is born inside a prison, you can expect its members to be cold hearted and ruthless at the same time. They’ll resort to any means to take care of anyone that opposes them. Ruthless and cold hearted is the best description for the Barrio Azteca, an American-Mexican gang that was born from the cells of an El Paso jail.
The Barrio Azteca came from humble beginnings and were once considered a street gang. It has evolved into a paramilitary structured gang that devotes itself to drug trafficking. Since the members are hailing from both Mexico and America, gang members who kill a person behind the border can easily get through the other border with the help of the gang members.
Some of the most horrendous crimes that Barrio Azteca has been known for includes killing a pregnant US consulate employee and killing 16 teens who were at a party.
Japan’s Yakuza is a very large gang and it’s made up of several sub gangs that operate independently. Out of all the Yakuza gangs in Japan, the most dangerous by far is the Yamaguchi-Gumi. It’s one of the largest Yakuza gangs there is and it could be attributed to how easy it is to join the gang.
Joining the Yamaguchi-Gumi is as simple as joining through their website or by answering an ad in their magazine. The Yamaguchi-Gumi members range from 25,000 to 40,000. Their influence has caused concern in many countries including the United States.
The Yamaguchi-Gumi aren’t as violent as other gangs but they are evil and manipulative. The gang has a long history of various crimes including extortion, political corruption, murder and much more.