Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   17 January

Yerevan police arrest “thief-in-law” for possession of narcotics

YEREVAN, JULY 21, ARMENPRESS. Yerevan Police Department officers have apprehended Norayr Piloyan, a 39-year-old “thief in law” known by his nickname Koncho, in suspicion of possession of narcotics. The man is a local of the Aragatsotn Province. Officers found a knife and a substance resembling opium in his possession.

Piloyan has been placed under arrest and an investigation has been launched, police said.

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.

Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan


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