Why Do People Join Gangs?

Are there gangs in Korea? Interesting gangster related question which will be interesting to answer. Also, what we’re saying isn’t widely documented; it’s not like gangsters go out there and make documentaries about themselves. By understanding gang related issues it might make it easier to understand why people join gangs.

There have been a lot of movies around lately about Korean gangsters. Starting around 2000 or so, there’s just been this string of people making gangsters look like they’re really cool and that their life is really awesome. But they haven’t really put out as many movies about how bad it can possibly get.

korean flag

Like everywhere, there are gangs in Korea

The general opinion from Korean people is that the movies aren’t really a representation of what life would really be like in a gang. Just like how any movie isn’t an accurate representation of anything really. Actually, one of the most interesting things about gangs in Korea is that you can’t really identify them.

Who are Korean gangs

So Japan has the yakuza. You can pick out the yakuza. If you see a yakuza, you’re can say “Yep. That’s a yakuza right there.” You will be walking down the street and you can tell from their suit and their hair and they way they look at you.

Anyway, the point we’re getting at is that you can walk around Korea and you just don’t see somebody wearing a particular suit or covered in tattoos or something. Apparently, the majority of the gangs are not acting out of Seoul, But are actually in places like Bucheon, Incheon, Busan, Jeolla-do, Daejeon. According to sources, that’s where a lot of the major hubs of gangster activity are from.

There are supposedly 216 gangs in Korea, with three major syndicates. The three major syndicates are the

  1. Chil-Sung-Pa, Chil-Sung is also known as seven star – you might recognize Chil-sung cider, which means you’re drinking gangster juice.
  2. There’s also the Hwang-Song-Sung, which is really difficult to pronounce, but it’s also known as the H.S.S.
  3. Lastly there’s the Ssang Yong Pa, also known as the Double Dragon Syndicate, also the name of and old video game.

The rest of the 216 gangs have some really interesting names. There’s the Texas gang, the Express Bus Terminal gang, also the Strawberry Flavored Seaweed gang. There’s also the Paradise gang, the Hot Spring gang and there’s also the Renaissance gang and the World Cup gang. Yes. Whatever happened to scary gangs like Bloods and Crips?!

Sunset in Jeonju

Gangs operate in smaller towns

Gangster talk

Here’s something that’s really interesting about gang culture. Supposedly, gang members will learn different dialects from different parts of Korea. For those of you who don’t know what we mean, when you’re living in Seoul, there’s a certain accent that people have. If you live in Busan, or you live in Jejudo or different parts, they have different accents. Most of the people that go to Seoul try to lose their countryside accent, to be like a cool Seoul person.

People in gangs supposedly will even learn a dialect because it sounds tougher and harsher. People in the gang will talk a certain way, even if they’re not naturally from that region. They will try to adopt that dialect and try to seem more gangster.

Gangster tattoos

What about tattoo culture when it comes to gangs? So it is actually popular among gangs. There are a lot of dragons, roses and carps. Yeah. By carps, we mean those big fish.

In Japan, if you try to go to a hot spring, it actually explicitly says that tattoos are banned. In Korea, you don’t get banned, but there are some parts outside of Seoul, that are starting to charge more if you have tattoos and you try to get in. Supposedly they charge people 50 bucks because they had a lot of tattoos on their body.

Why are there gangs?

So, what do gangs actually do in Korea? Mostly it’s money laundering, extortion, prostitution, and gambling. But that’s pretty much similar in most gangs around the world isn’t it? The difference though, is that there is a lot of drug trafficking in other gangs, there’s not really a big drug culture in Korea.

While prostitution culture is HUGE in Korea, it’s very big. It’s illegal at the same time, but there’s billions of dollars going into prostitution, the majority of that is handled through gangs.

Also, gambling is very illegal in Korea. Those gambling houses where people go are run by the gangs as well, that is usually where a lot of gambling happens. You can actually go to Korea as a foreigner and go to a casino, but Korean people are actually forbidden from gambling. They’ll go to these underground houses instead. It’s not like an advertised place.


Gangters are into gambling in Korea

You might join this gambling ring and you think that you’re doing really well, but don’t join them. They are going to hustle you. That whole house is in there to try to hustle you, make you feel comfortable and make you lose more money. and then you owe them money and so then that becomes you having to owe them and pay it back at a crazy rate.


They’re starting to invest more money in other things. Mainly, the entertainment industry. There are some companies that have affiliations with gangs in Korea. A lot of Korean netizens know about this situation, you can easily find it online if you just do a little bit of googling.

It’s really really safer in Korea than most places. If you look at gang culture, they’re dealing with gambling or companies, It’s not like they’re standing on a street corner where it’s overt. It’s really subcultural.

Please Share If You Enjoyed This Content!