Asian drug gangs not new to Philly

Posted: August 29, 2014

YESTERDAY'S gruesome developments along the Schuylkill, said by cops to be possibly linked to Asian drug gangs, was not the first time Asian gang violence has made news in Philadelphia.

In 2012, Sophos Siv, 40, was tied up, beaten and shot in his Olney home. A gunbattle over his killing ensued this year between reported Cambodian gang members.

In 2005, five or six Asian men wearing bandannas drove through South Philly and opened fire, killing Angel Mucciolo, 18, a bystander. The case was believed to be gang-related.

The subject dominated headlines in the mid- to late 1990s when Asian gang violence grew in the city, especially in South Philly, where gangs would develop hangouts as well as rivalries.

Among the largest Asian gangs in the city have been the Tiny Rascal Gang, D-Block and the Red Scorpions. The Tiny Rascal Gang was named as the biggest in the nation in a Daily News article in 2005. Many of its members are Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese.

Some reports also said that members identified themselves as being in the Bloods or Crips, although no connection was known between the Philly groups and the infamous gangs based in Los Angeles.

Many Asian gang members have been immigrants or children of immigrants who escaped countries experiencing genocide, sometimes with repercussions including "depression, compulsive gambling, alcoholism and domestic violence," the Daily News reported in 1996.

Thoai Nguyen, CEO of the Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Associations Coalition, told the Daily News in 2005 that some Asian gang members displayed a "glamorization of spending time in jail."

"When you have little room for upward mobility, you will join with groups of other kids," he said.

"You stick together to protect each other [and] some of these groups are seen as gangs."

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