McMafia: A Journey Through The Global Criminal Underworld

McMafia: A Journey Through The Global Criminal Underworld

Misha Glenny has covered the Balkans for the BBC before. He is arguably one of the best commentators on that region, both before and after the Bosnian War in 1991-1994. Somewhat inspired by the seedy shipment of arms and weaponry in that region, he has gone on to write a book that is many times more comprehensive: crime is no longer confined to one region, but connected to and through many. It is a hydra headed phenomenon that is difficult to contain or eliminate. Take the drug drag in Cali and Medellin in Columbia, for example. After the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has targeted its might on both cartels, the criminal underworld in Bulgaria, Croatia and Albania have taken their place; invariably, to flood Europe with several hundred thousand tonnes of cocaine and heroin.

Why these three countries in particular ? All of them have unsupervised coast-lines, to begin with. They also have fascist and nationalist gangs at work behind the scene. Be that as it may, the criminal underworld in China and Japan are driven by those bent on profiteering from any amount and form of trade.

But it would be wrong to argue that the entire landscape of these Asian countries are involved in crime. Only Fuzhou, Guangzhou, and Yokohama, are more vulnerable, due to centuries of prior ethinic Chinese criminal and Yakuza connections. That crime can only proliferate from old centers of commerce suggests the sheer lack of trust, especially the fear of being exposed and targeted. In this sense, the government at hand still possesses enormous clout to tweak the underworld. But a lot depends on the volition and willingness of the respective authorities to carry out their jobs.