The Tiny Rascal Gang (or alternatively spelled as TRG or Rascals for short) is a predominantly Cambodian-American street gang and organized crime group based in California. Initially founded to combat existing gang activity in the area, TRG emerged from the several local gangs that were formed throughout the early 1980s later becoming the foundation of the larger gang. TRG is considered to be the largest ethnically focused Asian-American criminal organisation in the United States. Members are typically of Cambodian descent; while little is known about their membership, minority gang members include other South East Asian, African, Latino and White Americans. Tiny Rascal Gang members are known for wearing Oakland Raiders merchandise and sporting grey as their gang color.
In 1975, after the fall of Phnom Penh and the régime, the United States started receiving its first Cambodian refugees, most of whom were concentrated in California, Massachusetts, and New York and in Canada, Toronto and Montreal. As with many refugee groups, lack of knowledge concerning the culture of the host nation and limited command of English language ultimately created a barrier that isolated the newly arrived Cambodians. These groups initially were not so accepted by the established street gangs and were often viewed as community outcasts by the general population.
In the mid-1980s, a fight occurred between a Latino and a Cambodian in Long Beach, an event which led to the formation of the Tiny Rascals. As a means of protection, other young Cambodians began forming several street gangs which later laid the foundation of TRG. While conforming to the American culture, members of these gangs began to adopt grey as their representative colour, by which they were identified. Gang signs, graffiti, fashion, and gang customs were established and developed throughout the 1980s and 90s. Members of TRG began committing several crimes which primarily included extortion, murder, kidnapping, robbery, burglary, home invasion, drug and weapons trafficking. Some of the Tiny Rascal members were originally members of the Asian Boyz, a rival gang, and transferred gangs due to friction between other fellow Tiny Rascal members.
Initially a predominantly Cambodian street gang, they eventually began to recruit members of other ethnic groups and racial identities. There are about 10,000 members nationwide. In the 1990s, females were allowed to represent the gang and an all-female branch was formed as "LRG (Lady Rascal Gang)". This set was later disbanded.
As with many other gangs, potential members must first be initiated in a "jump in" where they would have to fight other members of the gang or endure a beating for a specific amount of time. Newer recruits are allegedly required to commit a notable crime as a means to earn respect, whether it be murder, home invasion, drive-by shootings on rival gangs or enemies, or robbery. Respect and credibility within the gang revolved around a number of crimes individuals would commit either on behalf of or in favor of the gang. Their gang colors are grey and black.
The Tiny Rascals are involved in a wide range of criminal activities which include extortion, robbery, burglary, auto theft, gang protection, and murder, which are some of the more publicized criminal activities. While young members of the gang are mostly involved in street crimes, some members have progressed to serious organized criminal activities of a larger scale. The older sets maintain a working relationship with similar sets of a fellow Southeast Asian gang called Asian Boyz. They have formed alliances with Chinese Triad organizations such as the New York City-based Ghost Shadows. They are part of the On Leong Tong.. On top of that TRG also work with Hong Kong-based Triads 14K Triad and Wo Hop To.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, several Rascals violently retaliated to the ongoing harassment of East Side Longos within California, especially Long Beach and Seattle. This sparked a deadly war of which resulted in over a hundred casualties suffered among both gangs.
During 1994, seven TRG members would break into a house in Tustin resulting in the victim being killed, whilst her baby was home. In 2016 some Tiny Rascal members would also murder a member of a graffiti crew in Tustin.
In August 1995, five TRG members aging between 16 and 23 invaded the house of a family in San Bernardino and shot five of them to death in a robbery. The victims were ages 10 to 44. The five perpetrators were sentenced to life imprisonment.
The gang also has a presence among the Cambodian-American community in Lowell, Massachusetts. According to police there, several hundred TRG members lived in the Lowell area in 2008, and the gang was connected to a dozen homicides and 20 assaults in Lowell within the years of 1998 and 2008.