Paramilitary: Chinese Gangsters in South America


August 24, 2023: As more Chinese companies invest in LAC (Latin America and the Caribbean) countries, there is an increased need for Chinese security firms to deal with local threats from local organized crime gangs as well as general lawlessness. When there are a lot of Chinese businesses in an area, that usually means Chinese gangsters are not far behind. After becoming familiar with the local culture, the Chinese gangsters will expand their operations to include local non-Chinese firms. This is a problem for the Chinese firms and for local police. The locals often can’t tell the difference between Chinese businessmen and Chinese gangsters and adopt an anti-Chinese attitude that makes trouble for all Chinese in the area. Chinese firms came up with a solution; Chinese PSCs, or Private Security Companies. The Chinese PSCs not only provide security advice for the Chinese firms that hire them but also work with the local security forces to identify the Chinese criminal gangs operating in the area. The Chinese PSCs often partner with local private security firms to provide more comprehensive security services for Chinese firms.

New Chinese firms in less developed nations are often introducing large new enterprises like mining or manufacturing. In many countries the new Chinese operations will attract the local gangsters and that can be a major problem. Chinese PSCs often hire former or retired Chinese police or security personnel. Former Chinese police commanders working for a Chinese PSC can establish contacts with local law enforcement and make life more difficult for the Chinese gangsters as well as improve security for the new Chinese firms. Local authorities appreciate this because as the new Chinese firms prosper, tax revenue increases as do opportunities for local officials to solicit bribes from the Chinese firms. This can sometimes get out of control and threaten the continued survival of the Chinese firms. Once more the Chinese PSCs make themselves useful and work independently or in cooperation with local police, to deal with the problem.

The LAC nations are a new region for Chinese PSCs, the Chinese can rely on experience in other parts of the world, especially Africa and Asia. The cultures are different but the corruption and local criminals are similar. Chinese firms in less developed nations initially had a hard time adapting to the local security and government culture. This created the need for Chinese PSCs to deal with these problems competently, confidentially and in a familiar language.




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