Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   21 November

Police reportedly target "thieves-in-law", mafia royalty: authorities turn to Glomar response

YEREVAN, MAY 18, ARMENPRESS. The Police of Armenia has responded to media reports claiming that law enforcement agencies have detained more than 10 “thieves-in-law”(vory v zakone) and more than 30 other high ranking criminals.

Asked by ARMENPRESS to comment on the media reports, Police HQ Press and PR director Ashot Aharonyan said: “Police are always carrying out preventive actions”.

Aharonyan refused to give other details – neither confirming nor denying the media reports.

According to online reports, Armenian law enforcement agencies have detained more than 10 “thieves-in-law” and more than 30 other high ranking criminals in a nationwide crackdown. The report claimed that agents apprehended a 43-year-old man on May 17 who is considered to be a “thief-in-law”. The 43-year-old is said to have arrived from Ukraine recently.

Earlier the same news website, shamshyan.com, reported Armenian law enforcement agencies have launched a nationwide crackdown on organized crime.

This phenomenon, known as thief-in-law, emerged in the infamous Soviet gulags and became a prison culture in most of post-Soviet states.

“Thief-in-law” is a specifically granted formal status of a professional criminal who enjoys an elite position within the organized crime environment and employs informal authority over its lower-status members. Criminals are “crowned” as thieves-in-law by senior members of the organized crime syndicates for many years of contributions to the criminal business or long record behind bars.

Thieves-in-law are known for their distinctive tattoos and code of conduct.


ENGLISH: Editor/Translator - Stepan Kocharyan

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