Snakeheads () are Chinese gang
s that smuggle people
to other countries. They are found in the Fujian
region of China
and smuggle their customers into wealthier Western countries such as those in Western Europe
, North America
, and some nearby wealthier regions such as Taiwan
Snakeheads use various methods to get their customers to the West. They may employ the use of stolen or altered passport
s, improperly obtained visas
, and bribe
s to move people from nation to nation until they arrive at their final destination.
They also may use fake business delegations and tour groups as a way of beating immigration controls. The rate of payment for successful smuggling can be as high as US$70,000.
One notable snakehead member was Cheng Chui Ping
or "Sister Ping". Another is Guo Liang Chi
, known mainly by his street name of Ah Kay, who was the mastermind of the ''Golden Venture
'' cargo ship fiasco in 1993 that was financed by Sister Ping.
Role in defection from North Korea
A North Korea
n emigrant seeking to enter South Korea may turn to a snakehead gang to be voluntarily smuggled out of North Korea. If the emigrant is unable to pay the snakeheads back, the emigrant may risk becoming a victim of human trafficking
In popular culture
* In the Lincoln Rhyme
novel ''The Stone Monkey
'' by Jeffery Deaver
, the villain is a shadowy snakehead, nicknamed "the Ghost," who is intent on killing a family of Chinese
immigrants who are the only witnesses alive who can identify him to the authorities.
* The Alex Rider
'' by Anthony Horowitz
is the seventh novel in the series, in which Alex must infiltrate a Snakehead gang for ASIS (Australian Secret Intelligence Service).
* In the video game ''Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
'', one of the operations puts the player on a ship carrying illegal Vietnam
ese immigrants. The gangster running the operation is referred to as "The Snakehead". This gang is known as the "Da Nang Boys". The operation is a direct allusion to the Golden Venture
fiasco in 1993.
* In the "Laughing Magician" story arc of the comic book ''Hellblazer
'', John Constantine
enlists the aid of a snakehead gang boss.
* The 1980 Shaw Brothers
production ''Lost Souls'' directed by Mou Tun Fei
concerns the exploitation of illegal immigrants and features a gang of nasty snakeheads as the villains.
* The Oregon Files
novels ''Dark Watch
'' and ''Flood Tide
'' by Clive Cussler
features snakeheads as minor villains.
* The ''Fringe
'' episode "Snakehead" features a gang that smuggles immune-boosting parasites by feeding them to the Chinese immigrants that they are transporting.
* In an episode of ''Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
'' called "Debt", the detectives fight against a snakehead gang.
* The TV series ''Hawaii Five-0
'' (2010) featured a snakehead in the pilot episode who is sentenced to life imprisonment – later to be revealed as a subordinate of the archvillain Wo Fat
* The zombie fiction novel ''World War Z
'' by Max Brooks
features a Snakehead gang member as a character, revealing how they helped transport infected refugees outside mainland China to the West and Central Asia.
* The movie ''Premium Rush
'' refers to the snakehead gang as the recipient of the envelope that is being delivered.
* List of Chinese criminal organizations
* People smuggling
* Fujian gang
List of prices paid to human smugglers by immigrants from China and other countries.
Category:Gangs in Asia
Category:Organized crime gangs
Category:Organized crime groups in China
Category:Organized crime groups in the United States
Category:Transnational organized crime