Disbanded gang members still operational as individuals or as smaller groups

Gang members who pledged to dissociate their gangs and abandon gang violence are still operational as individuals or in smaller groups. Many unlawful offenses are committed by ex-gang members, according to police records.
Police officials said though now large gangs do not exist, ex-gang members still commit crime when the disbanded members meets up.
The frequency of gang fights have reduced after the gangs were disbanded but the gang culture has not been completely uprooted.
“I have witnessed gang fights twice and heard several times that these fights were taking place in the city though I heard that the gangs were disbanded,” said Sangay Wangmo, 28, a resident of Chubachu. She added that it was a dirty fight with dangerous weapons.
According to Kuenzang Lhendup, he was walking home towards Olakha one night, when on the way he was confronted by a group of boys. “I was challenged to fight as they were desperate and they said that they did not want any valuables that I carried,” he said.
The police recorded the maximum number of crimes committed by repeated offenders from the gangs which were disbanded on August 27, 2010. Only a few new offenders have been apprehended till date.
According to Lam Shenphen Zangpo gangs are often a substitute for a family and a means of mutual support.
“ As long as there are disfunctional families and communities, there will be gangs,” he said adding to that he considered many gang members  his good friends as they are generally very good at heart but lacked proper counseling and guidance.
“Fathers going for new wives and deserting their families, lack of healthy recreational facilities and limited job opportunities for youth without college education has encouraged youths to form gangs.”
However, crime rates plummeted from 702 earlier to 634 in 2011, after the disbanded members were put on various trainings and provided employment opportunities. A few are in police training and some are associated with the movie industry.
“A group of people who come together and has a common intention is called a gang and many are mistaken with a group of friends,” said Lieutenant Thinley Yoezer Tangbi.
According to him gangs have disassociated and only the hard core members of the old gangs are still into criminal activities.
“Thimphu is not a safe place to live anymore; every time I hear about stabbings amd gang fights I think of going back to my village,” said a 74-year old man from Samdrup Jongkhar who  comes to circumambulate the Memorial Chorten but goes home before dark from the fear of being attacked or being mobbed.

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