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Do mafias still exist in South Korea?

Do Mafias Still Exist in South Korea?


South Korea is known for its economic progress and technological advancements, but behind the facade of a modern society, there is a dark underworld that has plagued the country for decades. The existence of mafia groups in South Korea has been a matter of concern for law enforcement agencies and the general public. In this article, we will explore whether mafias still exist in South Korea.

History of Mafias in South Korea:

The history of organized crime in South Korea dates back to the 1950s when the country was still recovering from the Korean War. At that time, criminal organizations called “Kkangpae” emerged and flourished in the country. These groups were involved in various illegal activities such as gambling, prostitution, and extortion. However, over time, the government cracked down on these groups, and many of them were disbanded.

Current Situation:

Despite the government’s efforts to eradicate organized crime, there are indications that some mafia groups still exist in South Korea. According to a report by the National Police Agency, there were 79 organized crime groups operating in South Korea as of 2020. These groups are said to be involved in illegal activities such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and online gambling.

Types of Mafias in South Korea:

There are several types of mafia groups that operate in South Korea. One of the most notorious is the “Yakuza” or Japanese mafia. This group has been active in South Korea since the 1980s and is involved in various illegal activities. Another group is the “Samgori” or three-nine gangs, which are known for their violent tactics and involvement in organized crime.

How Mafias Operate:

Mafia groups operate differently from other criminal organizations. They have a strict hierarchy and follow a code of conduct that is enforced by violence. Members of mafia groups are often recruited from within the organization and are expected to show complete loyalty to the group.

Impact of Mafias on Society:

The existence of mafia groups in South Korea has a significant impact on society. These groups are involved in illegal activities that harm individuals and communities. For example, they are known to exploit vulnerable populations such as women and children for their own gain.

Government Response:

The South Korean government has taken various measures to combat organized crime. In 2015, the government passed the “Anti-Organized Crime Act,” which provided law enforcement agencies with more power to investigate and prosecute organized crime. Additionally, the government has established a special task force to monitor and investigate organized crime.

Challenges Faced by Law Enforcement:

Despite the government’s efforts, law enforcement agencies face several challenges in combating organized crime in South Korea. One of the biggest challenges is the lack of cooperation from witnesses and victims who fear retaliation from mafia groups.

International Cooperation:

Organized crime is a global phenomenon, and it requires international cooperation to combat it effectively. South Korea has signed various international treaties and agreements to combat organized crime, such as the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

The Future of Organized Crime in South Korea:

It is difficult to predict the future of organized crime in South Korea. While the government has made significant progress in combating these groups, they still pose a threat to society. It is essential for law enforcement agencies to remain vigilant and continue their efforts to eradicate organized crime entirely.


In conclusion, while the existence of mafia groups in South Korea may not be as prevalent as it once was, they still pose a threat to society. The government’s efforts to combat organized crime should be commended, but there is still much work to be done to eradicate these groups entirely. It is essential for law enforcement agencies to continue their efforts and for society to remain vigilant.

Is there a Korean Yakuza?

The Toa Yuai Jigyo Kumiai or Toa-kai, a yakuza gang in Japan, is still operating with approximately 1,000 members. The majority of the group consists of ethnic Koreans, with Machii being responsible for introducing Korean involvement in the Japanese underworld.

Where are the most mafias?

The Mafia is most active in the Northeast region of the United States, with the highest levels of activity found in cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and New England, including Boston, Providence, and Hartford.

Why is Yakuza 6 banned in Korea?

South Korea recently cancelled the release of a game just one day before its planned launch, citing sensitive topics as the reason. The sudden move has sparked speculation, particularly since similar games have been released in the region before without incident.

Who is the boss of the Yakuza?

In the yakuza syndicate, the top leader is referred to as the oyabun, which means “boss” or “parent status,” while the members who follow are called kobun, meaning “protégés” or “apprentices,” and have the status of “child.”

Why are mafias rich?

The Mafia has generated profits through numerous illicit activities throughout its history. These activities have included the illegal distribution of alcohol during the Prohibition era, trafficking illegal drugs, prostitution, and illegal gambling, among others.

How old are mafias?

The Sicilian Mafia originated in Sicily and was formed by members of the Camorra, a criminal organization founded in Naples, during the early 1800s. It eventually spread to the United States through the immigration of some of its members in the late 1800s, early 1900s, as well as in the mid-1960s and early 1970s.

Impact on the Economy:

Mafia groups also have a significant impact on the economy of South Korea. They are known to control certain industries such as construction, transportation, and waste disposal. This control can lead to increased costs for businesses and consumers, as well as a decrease in competition.

Media Coverage:

The existence of mafia groups in South Korea has received significant media coverage over the years. Various movies, TV shows, and books have been produced about organized crime in the country. While this can help raise awareness about the issue, it can also glamorize these groups and make them appear more appealing to some individuals.

Preventative Measures:

To prevent individuals from joining mafia groups, it is essential to address the root causes that lead them to turn towards organized crime. This can include providing education and job opportunities for vulnerable populations, as well as addressing social inequality and corruption.

Civil Society Response:

Civil society organizations in South Korea have also taken action to combat organized crime. Some organizations provide support for victims of mafia violence, while others advocate for stronger laws and policies to combat organized crime.

The Role of Technology:

Technology has played a significant role in combatting organized crime in South Korea. Law enforcement agencies use various technologies such as surveillance cameras, wiretapping devices, and data analysis software to monitor and investigate mafia groups.


In conclusion, the existence of mafia groups in South Korea remains a concern for law enforcement agencies and society as a whole. While progress has been made in combating these groups, there is still much work to be done. It is essential for the government, law enforcement agencies, civil society organizations, and individuals to work together to eradicate organized crime entirely.

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