Tuesday, January 13, 2009

WaPo on a Fairfax, Virginia Korean crime ring

The Washington Post has a story on how police in the capital-area community of Annandale broke up a crime ring run by Koreans. The group was heavily involved with counterfeit cigarette sales, among other things, and some of the people nabbed in the ATF-Fairfax operation were arrested for trying to hire someone to kill the head of the crime ring himself. The whole thing makes for an interesting read. 

The Fairfax police perpetuate that meme I mentioned in my CSI: Koreatown piece, about Koreans not trusting the police:
"We could not crack it because the Korean community was afraid of these individuals," Piper said of the crime ring. "And their culture back home is they don't trust police. We got lucky with one individual wanting to turn over some information."
Like I said, thanks for putting the targets on Korean immigrants' backs. I'm not even so sure it's really true. In South Korea, it's not so much that people distrust the police as think of them as ineffective. For a crime that's over with, what good does reporting it do?

Of course, I'm playing devil's advocate here, since I am a strong believer in informing the police of crimes so their crackerjack detectives can detect a pattern and put the puzzle pieces together. That is, assuming there are crackerjack detectives in your jurisdiction. Nowadays it seems you're just as likely to get a crackpot, or a racist cracker. 

Anyway, in Korea I think a lot of people just assume that telling the police of this break-in or that problem isn't going to result in any positive outcome, so why bother? Especially when someone's life is in danger by going to the police, as may have been the case in Annandale. But that's a very different thing from distrust. 

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