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The Chinese Heroin TradeCross-Border Drug Trafficking in Southeast Asia and Beyond$
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Ko-lin Chin and Sheldon X. Zhang

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781479895403

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479895403.001.0001

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The Social Organization of Entrepreneurial Traffickers

The Social Organization of Entrepreneurial Traffickers

(p.109) 5 The Social Organization of Entrepreneurial Traffickers
The Chinese Heroin Trade

Ko-lin Chin

NYU Press

This chapter discusses the rise of entrepreneurial traffickers (both upper-and lower-level) in the Chinese drug market. First, it examines the relationship between organized crime groups and drug trafficking and distribution. It then moves on to the social organization of the drug trade by exploring issues such as fragmented trafficking process, hierarchy and division of labor, mobility within the drug trade, and self-preservation measures. It finds that China’s heroin trade consists mostly of highly fragmented stages and mutually isolated groups of entrepreneurs. In fact, all traffickers were involved in particular segments or specific stages of the drug trade, picking up their consignment at one point and moving it to the next. There were no organizations or traffickers that operated in multiple markets or exerted influence beyond their point of delivery. This is not to say that drug trafficking is not organized or coordinated among these entrepreneurs. Careful planning and execution are fundamental to operational success; and redundancy is kept to a minimum since every task is carried out by “trusted” partners. However, such organized behavior should not be confused with the concept of a formal organization, which implies operational regularity and existential continuity.

Keywords:   drug traffickers, drug trade, drug trafficking, Chinese drug market, organized crime groups, social organization

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