This article analyses the investigation and prosecution of contemporary Chinese criminal organizations in the United States in order to draw lessons for understanding Chinese organized crime and its control. This is done through the analysis of one major migrant smuggling case (which involved a woman smuggler): the trial of Chen Chui Ping, commonly known as Sister Ping. The article draws on interviews with parties familiar with the case, court documents and media reports. Beyond this, no particular information about the methodology is provided.
The article concludes that the emblematic prosecution of Sister Ping will not necessarily significantly disrupt the Chinese migrant smuggling industry. The reason for this is seen in the powerful monetary incentives for smugglers and the high demand for their services. The most distinguishing feature of modern Chinese migrant smuggling groups, such as the one controlled by Sister Ping, is their lack of formal structure. The author argues that this may alter the manner in which Chinese organized crime groups are prosecuted (in the United States). Effective prosecutorial tools against traditional crime groups and gangs may be of little use against decentralized and formless Chinese migrant smuggling groups. The study confirms the need for cooperation among international law enforcement agencies. Cooperation particularly with Interpol and Hong Kong (China) authorities helped to facilitate the successful investigation and prosecution of Sister Ping.The article analyses the case of Sister Ping with a focus on the process of investigation and prosecution and thus describes in detail the investigation, indictment and trial of Sister Ping. It provides insights into the organizational structure and the methods of Sister Ping’s migrant smuggling organization.