EMPIRE OF CRIME: Organised Crime in the British Empire

Book number: 92160 Product format: Hardback Author: TIM NEWARK

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Bibliophile price £3.75
Published price £19.99

It is the rule of unforeseen circumstances that says that the best intentions can lead to the worst results, and never was this more succinctly played out than when, in attempting to take the moral high ground, in 1908 Great Britain ended its lucrative trade in opium from Imperial India to China. This immediately ushered in a century of organised criminality in which gangs grew spectacularly wealthy on the illegal narcotics trade, something which Gladstone had accurately predicted when arguing against the abolition of the imperial opium trade in Parliament. The world price of opium soared to a new high and a century of lucrative drug smuggling began. The book introduces the reader to a whole new collection of heroes and villains, including US international drug-buster Harry J. Anslinger, Shanghai underworld master criminal Du Yue-sheng, and tough North-West Frontier police chief Lieutenant Colonel Roos-Keppel, nemesis of Afghan criminal gangs. It was the well-established global trade routes of the Empire which made the gangsters' work easy - in a few short years the Empire upon which the sun never set had become the criminal network with the same attribute. Even the greatest symbols of power - the ships of the Royal Navy - were being used to shift drugs between continents, and soon guns too were being smuggled along the trade routes, by people who had no interest in where they ended up. In another twist of irony, having handed this great gift to organised crime Britain then took on the burden of pursuing the purveyors of the evil it had created, with Scotland Yard providing some of the most innovative drugs-busters, many of whom came to a sticky end when they became too successful for the gangsters' liking. 268pp, photos.

Additional product information

ISBN 9781526713049

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