The Jo-poks (short for "jojik pokryeokbae") are the criminal syndicates of Korea. Jo-pok means "someone who wields the violence of (and for) an organization".
Fifth World[edit | edit source]
Organization[edit | edit source]
In Korea, it was during the Cold War that organized crime first emerged in the 1970s-80s from the street gangs and political gangs of its cities. These crime families and groups like other Asian syndicates influenced by Confucianism have a familial structure in which the boss has the role of the father, and the rest are elder (Hyeongnim) and younger brothers (dongsaeng). The honorific term of Hyeongnim is also used for the boss, similar to don.
In the Jo-poks, the members mostly had rural backgrounds and usually came from working-class families. Like the Yakuza and Triads, members worse elaborate tattoos which corresponded to their "pae" (gang). Due to the absence of firearms in Korea because of the rigidly enforced gun control laws, gangsters were usually armed with pipes, two-by-fours, baseball bats, and sometimes knives (which were also regulated). Firearms were rare, usually owned by professional hitmen.
Underworld[edit | edit source]
Jo-poks in 2000 had approximately 11,500 members in 404 crime groups or families. The average size of the jo-poks was 35 with the smallest having 10 members and the largest 88 members. The jo-poks were involved in drug trafficking, gambling, people smuggling, loansharking, prostitution, insurance fraud, and counterfeit credit cards.
Once a month the jo-poks would meet in an "event". In which the national-level bosses would in a small room resolve disputes and discuss new business. Approximately 15-20 bosses and major figures would attend these "events", which were held at weddings, a child's first birthday party, or a 70th birthday celebration. Those whom attended the "event" were required to pay a fee consisting of a monetary gift whose amount was determined by the size of the criminal group. In these "events" one would find the soldiers of rival gangs sitting next to each other without conflict.
Sixth World[edit | edit source]
Underworld in Korea[edit | edit source]
In the Korea of the Sixth World, the Jo-poks are a network of small gangs, which are constantly warring with each other. Though appearing to be disorganized they are actually part of a pyramidal structure in which each Jo-pok controls a specific district. Whenever they are not fighting each other, they're fighting the Yakuza whom they despise.
When the Yakuza purged it's ranks of Koreans in the UCAS during the 2040s which resulted in the creation of the Seoulpa Rings, the Jo-poks played a critical role. With the assistance of the Jo-poks, they not only survived but grew and expanded outside of the Seattle sprawl.
In Korea, there are two major powers among the Jo-pok syndicates. The Wonsan pirate syndicate is one, which dominates Korea's maritime crime. The other is the Park Syndicate whose territory spreads across southern Korea and is the Yakuza's main challenger in Korea, waging a war against the Yamashita-gumi for control of the Seoul-Incheon Megaplex.
International Activities[edit | edit source]
Jo-poks are also active outside of Korea, and are present in several nations in the Far East. In Southeast Asia, Jo-pok gangs are present in both Thailand and Burma where they are into high-tech items and the smuggling of BTLs. They are in one Chinese state (Henan), where they cooperate with the Triads and Yakuza against the communist regime. In the city of Hong Kong, the Jo-pok run lower tier criminal activities (loan-sharking and fencing).
Recently Jo-pok gangs have established a working relationship with the Seoulpa Choson Ring in the Seattle sprawl. They coordinate with each other when it comes to smuggling and hijacking operations. The hacking is done by the Choson, while the Jo-pok provide them with the muscle and magical support.
Major Syndicates[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
Index[edit | edit source]
Korean Mafia (Research)[edit | edit source]
- United Nations: Transnational Organized Crime and the Countermeasures in Korea
- Korea Focus: Jopoks in Korea