The Plasmatic Writer

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The Green Gang: Shanghai's Underworld

Posted on October 28, 2015 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

One thing I breifly mentioned in the Summary and Introduction for Opium Warfare as well as a video was the Green Gang. I thought I would give a bit more insight on the Green Gang about who they are and how they play an important role in the novel. First off, The Green Gang is a criminal organization in Shanghai. Members of the gang claim the origins of the gang date all the way back to the 1450's. While they relied on making money by acting as corrupt individuals their main source of income came from the trafficking of opium. It's worth nothing that upon considering a criminal organization for the book I considered the Yakuza and the Triads. However the Yakuza is a japanese gang and the Traid are the main Chinese gang. I didn't want to use the Triads and wanted something unique and more original so a simple Google search led me to find the Green Gang and how fitting was it? As you can see not only were they in Shanghai and operational during the time of my book but they also dealt in the dealings of opium, so it was a win win all around. So you know the basics about the gang and why I chose it for my book but let's talk about some interesting details you may not know and how it tied into the book and is useful to know overall about Shanghai.


Shanghai originally had two gangs, the green and the red and both were equal. Over the years the Green Gang began branching out in committing higher levels of crime it was wasn't too long after that they had established themselves as the lead gang in all of Shanghai. Like many crime organizations they are considered a secret society and their members were put into groups called fleets. These fleets were broken up into several hundred and each given specific tasks whether it be working a deal with the Triads or working the shipping systems along the rivers and docks. A very interesting fact is that very little illegal happenings go down in Shanghai without the Green Gang knowing. This shows that the gang is the elite of the illegal and if something goes down in Shanghai it can't do so until it goes through the Green Gang. The members come from a certain hierarchical manner. They are initiated by that of a blood oath. Those who have high ranking status in the gang are usually that of businessmen, politicians and high-interest bankers. The rest of the members were made up of everyday type citizens with jobs such as merchants, laborerers, other less influential politicians and even some military.


You know that saying? "I know people" or "one phone call"? Which is to state that a person has connections, well the Green Gang had connections...with French police. Since the Green Gang did opium trading with the French they needed people on the inside and those inside just happen to be the French authorities, now that's what I call having the right people in your pocket. One of the head authority figures in Shanghai was also in connection with the gang as he was a boss. This boss was in power during the early 20's when the opium smuggling was popular and right around the time of my novel. The Green gang broke two of their organizations under two different names when trading with the French. The French paid them and this also helped pay the top Frnch officials. There was also transactions to which covered all opium dens in France, this way the ones in Shanghai made the money and the extra cash covered the costs for their connections. In a nutshell, the Green Gang got most of the goods, most of the money and covered their tracks sufficiently. This is all noteworthy because not only does it tell you of the importance of the Green Gang to Shanghai but also shows that the time period to which Opium Warfare is set in is just right, making it a fitting historical fiction.


To read more about the Green Gang feel free to check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Gang" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">this page and to read about how they operate in fiction be sure to grab a copy of Opium Warfare.