Flying Dragons (gang)

Flying Dragons
Founded Late 1970s
Years active 1980s-present
Territory New York City
Ethnicity Chinese, Vietnamese
Criminal activities Drug trafficking, extortion, illegal gambling, Racketeering, robbery, assault, burglary, theft, kidnapping, and murder
Allies Hip Sing Tong
Rivals Ghost Shadows

The Flying Dragons (traditional Chinese: 飛龍幫; simplified Chinese: 飞龙帮; pinyin: Fēilóngbāng; Jyutping: Fei1lung4bong1) are a well known Chinese American street gang affiliated with the Hip Sing Tong; they are active in New York City's Chinatown, and have a presence in Hong Kong, Canada and Australia. The gang moved heavily into heroin trafficking after the Italian-American Mafia lost the trade as a result of the Pizza Connection prosecutions in the mid-1980s. The Flying Dragons are believed to have been started during the late 1970s to early 1980s.

The boss of the gang, Johnny "Onionhead" Eng was sentenced to 24 years imprisonment on 14 counts of heroin running and conspiracy in 1993.


Similar to the Triads of China, and the Yakuza of Japan, the Flying Dragons are likely to operate with people of their own ethnicity. Unlike western gangs, gangs such as the Flying Dragons remain fairly unnoticeable by police outside of their own homelands. In the leader's, Johnny "onionhead" Eng's criminal case, it is reported the Flying Dragons are a fairly violent gang; being involved in murders and drug trafficking.


The Flying Dragons are said to have operated heavily in Chinatowns in the United States and in Hong Kong.[1] As many Asian gangs did, the Flying Dragons dealt with illegal drugs; mainly heroin. They're also known for extortion and kidnapping. Along with South America, Asia entered the market around the 1970s and have played a larger role in supplying drugs to American consumers.The steady demand for illegal drugs by U.S. consumers, which Asian gangs were a significant part of, has led the U.S. government to wage a war on drugs since the 1980s.

Gang leader Johnny Eng otherwise known as "Onionhead" was brought up on charges of masterminding an international heroin importing scheme. Prosecutors in Brooklyn federal court say there's a mountain of evidence against him such as 300 pounds of heroin shipped to New York in stuffed animals, strapped to couriers and sealed in steel machines used to wash bean sprouts.

Drug trafficking throughout Chinatown has been greatly reduced due to the discovery of the underground tunnels.

Gang leader

Machine Gun Johnny ("onionhead") Eng is said to have come to this country around the age of 13 from Asia (Hong Kong). He's believed to be a multi - millionaire, with financial interests in Hong Kong, farms in Pennsylvania and land in South America. There are sources say he took over the Flying Dragons after his predecessor was shot in the eyes in the doorway of the Hip Sing credit union in the spring of 1983. Johnny Eng is known for a case in which he was charged for heroin trafficking, facing life without parole, and mocking the trial with smirks and laughs. After he was released from prison he hasn't been seen since and it is believed that his cousin has taken over.

Known affiliations

A New York State gang by the name of Born To Kill[2] that was founded by a Vietnamese refugee who came to the U.S. in 1975 and worked as an enforcer for the Flying Dragons. It's said, 13 years later he broke away and started his own gang. By the early 1990s Born To Kill, which took its name from a phrase American soldiers had on their helmets during the Vietnam War, was composed mainly of young Vietnamese men and immigrants from other southeast Asian countries.

Overseas activities

The Flying Dragons have many roots in Hong Kong. In 1994, in what law-enforcement officials called a major blow to the largest and last of the traditional criminal gangs in Chinatown, 33 suspected members of the Flying Dragons were indicted on federal racketeering charges.[3] Sources described these charges as three murders, 12 attempted murders, heroin trafficking, illegal gambling, arson, extortion and robberies that stretched from Manhattan into Brooklyn and Queens. They've also been said to be located in parts of Canada and Australia.

Asian gang history

The Institute for Scientific Analysis has findings[4] that "indicate that Asian gangs first emerged when a large pool of Chinese immigrant youths who arrived in San Francisco in the late 1960s were forced into self reliance by the city's failure to recognize the needs of its newcomers. The integration of Asian gangs into criminal subculture in the Chinese community, lack of legitimate opportunities available to youths, and hostility from other ethnic and Asian groups fueled subsequent generations of Asian gangs." It believed, because of a series of Chinese Exclusion Acts, there weren't too many Chinese women and children that were allowed to immigrate into the United States before 1965. The Chinese community was composed of a majority adult males, who were primarily bachelors. Consequently, there were only a small number of children, which stifled the development of gangs in China towns. Apparently, the tradition of organised criminal activities, which utilised able young men, came about in the late 1800s. The Institute for Scientific Analysis' sources say "gambling and the use of opium were popular respites from work among the men who lived in Chinatown. Since there were few Chinese women in the United States, prostitution rings formed to serve the needs of bachelors. Many of these activities were run by members of tongs, who sought to ease some of the difficulties recent immigrants faced."


  1. "Organized Crime from World of Criminal Justice, Gale", n.d.
  2. Pirro, John (12 January 2010). "Police tie 2005 Bethel home invasion, rape to violent NYC gang". News - Times. Danbury, CT. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  3. James, George (22 November 1994). "33 Suspected Chinatown Gang Members Are Indicted". New York Times. New York. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  4. "A_Short_History_of_Asian_Gangs_in_San_Francisco.pdf", n.d.,


External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/20/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.