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Gangs in Hawaii – Mafia & Crime in Paradise

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Hawaii is paradise… BUT Hawaii has the same problems any other big city has. Gangs in Hawaii such as the Yakuza from Japan definitely have an impact. There are also some smaller local gangs. Hawaii is not even in the TOP 10 most dangerous cities in the United States. So don’t worry, you and your loved ones are very safe during your vacation in Hawaii!

Gangs and Mafia in Hawaii
Gangs and Mafia in Hawaii

Gangs in Hawaii

Hawaii has smaller street gangs. Most of them distribute drugs over the islands. Some are involved in illegal gambling and prostitution. Most gang-related crime is attributed to Filipino, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian, Samoan, and Tongan street gangs. In recent years some gang members from the US Mainland relocated to Hawaii.

One bigger crime organisation in Hawaii is THE COMPANY. It was started in the 1970s. With the arrest of the leaders of THE COMPANY in the late 1980s and early 1990s,the significance of this crime organisation went down, although parts of it are still operating.

More recent Hawaii Gang Activities – Mike Miske Enterprise

In 2020 the federal government took down Mike Miske. Mike Miske and his gang members were apparently involved in racketeering activity, and some with murder, kidnapping, arson and robbery among numerous charges. The federal Government arrested 11 men in July 2020. The Gang in Hawaii was based on Oahu and operating at least since the late 1990s. More news about the criminal Miske Enterprise here.

Yakuza Mafia in Hawaii

Hawaii had Gangs since the early 1960s. In more recent years, the Yakuza was tied to some properties in Kahala on Oahu, near Waikiki. Genshiro Kawamoto owned several buildings, villas and mansions in Kahala. He got into trouble in his home country Japan for tax evasion.

Different sources confirm Mr. Kawamoto is involved with the Yakuza in Japan. He has several night clubs in Tokyo that are apparently connected to the Yakuza.

Kahala is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Hawaii. Kawamoto owned almost 30 properties and paid around $30 Million for these properties. Kahala residents were not a fan of Kawamoto. He never took care of the properties. Run down properties in a neighborhood like Kahala affect the property values.

Explore the Mafia neighborhoo on our Oahu Island Tours. Learn more about the Mafia in Hawaii and check out the Mansions in Kahala.

A Mafia Strategy to buy more homes

By not maintaining the properties and letting families move in that were on social welfare, the value of the properties in the Kahala area went down. Whenever that happened, Kawamoto would send a negotiator to your doorstep. The negotiator made a cash offer and gave you five days to decide. All but one of the 30 people that were offered a deal, accepted. Kawamoto owned almost 30 properties in Kahala, lots of them were considered prime real estate.

Mafia Money Laundering – $80 Million Dollars

Reliable sources explained, buying real estate in cash is a common way to launder money. Kawamoto paid around $80 Million Dollars over the year, purchasing the mansions. When Kawamoto was forced to sell his properties because of legal issues, he sold them to an american real estate company. This was the point, where his plan worked out perfectly. The real estate company bought everything for about $50 Million. Kawamoto lost about $30 Million Dollar on the deal – but now he had 50 Million Dollars in clean money.

The perfect plan!

Surf Gangs in Hawaii

Besides the Mafia in Hawaii, Surf gangs have a long history in the islands. When surfing became bigger and bigger in the 1970s, surf gangs formed. Surfing became more and more commercialized and Hawaii surfers wanted to protect their turf, well their waves. Some of the most popular surf gangs in Hawaii are

  • Da Hui
  • Wolfpak

Kala Alexander formed the Wolfpak with other known surfers such as Andy Irons, Bruce Irons, and Sunny Garcia. Wolfpak describe their mission more of “keeping things in order” than as a violent gang. Pipeline is a dangerous wave and dropping in or not knowing your limits can put people in danger.

Kala Alexander Surf Fight Oahu Westside

The video shows the aftermath of a surf incident on Oahu’s westside. Eduardo Bassetto, a surfer from Brazil was surfing Makaha. We were on the beach when we realized the lifeguards were getting the jet ski ready. Within seconds the jet ski was in the water and two lifeguards came back with a what seemed to be not responding surfer. It turned out that Eduardo Bassetto was unconscious and the lifeguards had to do CPR to get him back. The ambulance came after the lifeguards kept doing CPR for about 8 minutes.

Eduardo Bassetto was kept in a coma for about 2 weeks, before his body was able to function again. Kala Alexander was interviewed by the cops on site. We heard him explain the situation, saying “I was on the wave and saw him last minute paddling out. I jumped of my board and it must have hit him.”

Watch all seasons of popular TV series Hawaii Five-0 inspired by fighting against crime in Hawaii. Link to Amazon Prime here.