The World Economic Forum recently published its annual Global Competitiveness Report, which brings together dozens of measures of economic and institutional health.
One of the sub-categories used by the WEF is the prevalence of organised crime — listed under the “security” index. Extortion, racketeering, theft, violence and property damage are all factors that could hold back a country’s development.
To make the comparisons more reasonable, we only took countries from the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). There are 34 nations, all democracies with mixed or market economies. The group is often though of as a rich countries’ club.
We thinned the list down to any OECD countries that fell outside of the top 50 places in the WEF’s ranks. The lower the WEF ranking given, the worse the country is for organised crime.
Take a look:
11. Japan — Despite their famous Yakuza gangs, Japan only just sneaks onto our list, coming in 57th place. The group is known as one of the biggest single organised-crime syndicates in the world.
10. Greece — The country’s huge shipping industry and proximity to Asia creates opportunities for smuggling, and it ranks 52nd.
A member of the far-right Golden Dawn party is escorted by antiterrorism police officers to court, where he will respond to the charges of belonging to a criminal organisation, in Athens, October 1, 2013.
9. France — In 60th place, France ranks worse than other large EU countries like Spain, the UK, and Germany. Its Corsican mafia was once heavily involved in the trafficking of heroin into the US, referred to as “the French Connection.”
8. Hungary — Like many other countries under former communist systems, Hungary experienced a surge in organised crime in the 1990s, as gangs sought to capitalise on the lack of order and the sudden emergence of massive commercial activity.
A gang of prison inmates walks along the Hungarian-Serbian border near a migrant collection point in Roszke, Hungary, September 11, 2015.
7. USA — Despite its wealth, the US is placed roughly in the middle of the global rankings for organised crime, in 62nd place.
Inmates stand in a gymnasium where they are housed due to overcrowding at the California Institution for Men state prison in Chino, California, June 3, 2011.
6. Turkey — As a gateway into Europe, Turkey is a predictable route for drug trafficking from the east, which the Turkish mafia takes advantage of. Turkish organised criminals also have a presence in London, and the country takes 69th place.
5. Slovak Republic — Slovakia is the second-worst ranked country in Europe for organised crime. Three lists of organised-crime associates and groups have been leaked in the country. It sits in 70th place, exactly halfway down the ranks.
Dominik Jam of Slovakia is escorted by a police officer after he was presented to the media at a police station in Lima, April 23, 2012.
4. Israel — Israel saw a spike in mafia activity from Russia as it encouraged the immigration of Jews after the fall of the Soviet Union. Important figures like Zeev Rosenstein and Itzhak Abergil have been extradited to the US.
Israeli policemen escort suspected Israeli drug kingpin Zeev Rosenstein, centre, to a flight bound to Miami at the Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, March 6, 2006.
3. South Korea — Gangs known as “Kkangpae” operate in South Korea. Like Japan’s Yakuza, they also often have tattoos that identify their affiliation. Korea sits in 83rd place on the rankings.
2. Italy — Italy, the symbolic home of the Mafia, is by far the worst-ranking EU country for organised crime, coming in 130th place of 140, 70 places worse than France.
1. Mexico — The extremely powerful and violent cartels in Mexico have brought the country to the edge of civil war, and the only four countries in the world come ahead of them for the prevalence of organised crime, despite the country’s OECD membership.
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