Police Detain Five People Linked to Criminal Underworld

Georgian police arrested five people linked to the criminal underworld, the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) reported on January 23. The investigations were carried out in the capital Tbilisi and in the Imereti region of Georgia by the local police.

According to the MIA press release, the individuals were arrested for belonging to the criminal underworld, participating in criminal gatherings, supporting the activities of the criminal underworld, requesting the assistance of a “thief in law” [crime boss], organized extortion, and joint participation in organized extortion. The Criminal Law of Georgia provides for ten years imprisonment for the crimes committed.

“Thieves in law,” also known as “vor v zakone” in Russian [“вор в законе” – Russian], is a term to describe influential people within the organized crime world, particularly in the context of Soviet and post-Soviet criminal groups. “Thieves in law” are often involved in overseeing criminal activities, mediating conflicts, and enforcing their own set of rules within the criminal hierarchyin the absence of well-functioning and effective state law-enforcement. Membership in, endorsement of, and seeking assistance from “thieves in law” for settling disputes are punishable by law in Georgia.

According to the MIA, the investigation revealed the active involvement of these individuals in various criminal activities. It notes that one of those arrested asked the defendants for help in settling the financial dispute, with the aim of obtaining personal benefit. To this end, they conducted a “thief in the law” type of discussion involving both parties to the dispute. The MIA reports that “at the meeting, which was held in accordance with the traditions of the ‘thief in law’, the defendants demanded that one of the disputants pay a certain amount of money to another disputant within a certain time, and if he did not do so, they threatened him with personal retaliation.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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