Asian gangs on the rise in Birmingham | india | Hindustan Times
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Asian gangs on the rise in Birmingham

Police believe that the latest crime threat is from Asian drug gangs which deal mainly in heroin.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2003 22:27 IST

The growth of Asian gangs in Birmingham has led to rising tension between Black and Asian gangsters. The police believe the latest crime threat is from Asian drug gangs dealing mainly in heroin. They are mainly concentrated in the Midlands.

The illegal drugs trade was, until recently, dominated by Turkish criminals, with Albanians and British and Jamaican Yardies accounting for much of the rest. But, recent crime trends indicate that a growing number of British-born Asians are entering the arena in a big way.

An Asian drugs gang insider told a Birmingham-based newspaper: "Asians used to stick to a limited customer base in our own communities but now they are prepared to take anyone's money."

Pakistan is a major hub to import drugs into Britain. With a high percentage of Pakistanis in Birmingham, heroin is easily available at a very low price but sold at high prices to addicts and smaller dealers.

The insider said: "Now the Asian gangs have got black gangsters working for them on a street level whereas the reverse used to be the case in the past."

The National Crime Intelligence Service figures reveal Pakistani and Indian drug gangs now account for 20 per cent of heroin trafficking across Europe and into the UK.

In Birmingham, the trade has penetrated several black and Asian gangs which, originally, were volunteers defending ethnic areas against racists. Asian gangs like the Sikh Shere-e-Punjab and Muslim Birmingham Panthers, the Redheads and The Lynx, worked together with black gangs like the Burger Bar Boys and Johnson Crew. But these gangs have now evolved into opposing crime syndicates.

Allegedly those gangs have now disappeared but the younger generation is said to be exploiting the names to gain street credibility. A source has been quoted saying: "...the rise of the Asian drug gangs has inevitably led to clashes with the older more established black gangs and black-on-brown or vice-versa killings are becoming more and more common."

A Black community leader admitted that tensions have risen after Indian women became targets for black criminals who mugged them for their gold jewellery. "There was a spate of muggings back in the late 1980s and early '90s, and that certainly led to some bad blood between the two communities," he added. "Last year an Asian woman shopkeeper was attacked with a machete by a black man in Lozells and that fanned the flames again."