The Malta Independent 23 July 2019, Tuesday

The ‘Gangs’ of Malta

Sunday, 10 March 2019, 09:06 Last update: about 6 months ago

In a recent interview on a local television station, the Federation of Estate Agents expressed its concern about the number of graffiti being painted in public places in Malta, which are appearing especially in the Sliema, St Julian’s and St Paul’s Bay areas.

These graffiti are worrying because they not only make the island look unsightly but also more importantly because of the messages conveyed in them and their implications on Maltese society.

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These graffiti signed ‘Naz’ (who is a convicted Serbian rapper) are of Serbian origin and have links with organized crime in Serbia, especially the Serbian Mafia. The graffiti’s writing is a warning to other gangs telling them, ‘this is our area so do not enter’, which is the hallmark of gangs and organized crime groups.

Organized crime’s top moneymaking industries are drugs and human trafficking, smuggling of migrants, illegal firearms and other nefarious activities. The Serbian Mafia is one of the 14 most notorious in the world and is composed of multiple groups and the Serbian diaspora has created active cells in up to 30 countries. Other notorious Mafias are the Yakuza (Japan), the Russian Mafia, Hell’s Angels (USA), Colombian Drug Cartels and the Sicilian Mafia. Do we have an overseas branch of the Serbian Mafia prowling among us?

In Malta, official NSO statistics reveal there are 6,000 Serbian workers but the Federation of Estate Agents thinks the figure to be much more than this. Whilst most of the Serbian community is family-oriented and hardworking, there is a small percentage which seems to be on some kind of ‘gang war path’ with each other and/or crime in our islands.

Serbia is a country still living on the poverty bread line and its rap music is a representation of this economic reality. Violent civil war came to an end not that long ago which has left a scar that is reflected in its music or rather of its collective mental state. Some rap tracks hit over 38 million views on YouTube and the lyrics speak of crime, such as the songs, ‘Canada’ or ‘Kravavi Balkan’.

These gangs not only paint graffiti but also leave certain signs on private properties which are codes for thieves informing them of the times when the residents are out or in and whether the property is worth stealing from.

In view of these concerns, it would be wise for Mr. Citizen to invest in crime preventive measures and all citizens should be pro-active in this regard and not wait for something to happen. It would also be interesting to know what the local authorities are doing about this situation. Just painting over and removing the graffiti will not solve the problem.

 

Anthony Zarb Dimech

BIRKIRKARA

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