5T (gang)

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Founded Mid 1980s
Founded by Founded by Alexander Tran in Sai gon former Republic of vietnam and also sprung up in United States, Tri Minh Tran rose to be the leader *
Founding location AustraliaCabramatta, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Years active 1985-1999
Territory Cabramatta
Ethnicity Vietnamese
Criminal activities Drug dealing, arms dealing, extortion, money laundering, home invasion, armed robbery
Allies Various street gangs
Rivals Various Asian street gangs

5T was a Vietnamese crime gang active in the Cabramatta and Bankstown area of Sydney, Australia, with sub groups and ex members living interstate, in the final two decades of the 20th century.

The Rise of 5T[edit]

The 5T gang rose from the dead.

Cabramatta youths who came to Australia with their parents after the fall of the Republic of Vietnam. The formation of the 5Ts began in the mid-1980s. The term 5T, stands for five Vietnamese words starting with T; 'Tình', 'Tiền', 'Tù', 'Tội' and 'Tự, translating to 'Love, Money, Prison, Punishment, Suicide'. However, 5T also means 'tuổi trẻ thiếu tình thương' which roughly translates to 'childhood without love.' Gang members apparently were tattooed with the emblem consisting of a straight horizontal line and 5 joined vertical lines with members' first and family names starting with the letter T being the horizontal line on top of the name. Tri Minh Tran rose to leadership of the 5T gang by the age of 14 in 1989. Born in Vietnam in 1975, Tran arrived in Australia at the age of 7 as a refugee. By the age of 11, he had been arrested for carrying a sawn-off shotgun and in the next couple of years was suspected of the murder of two rival gang members.

The 5T gang dominated over the Cabramatta heroin trade, predominately at a street level. In January 1988, the Sydney Morning Herald warned: "Criminal gangs in the Vietnamese community are increasingly heavily armed, are moving into drugs and gambling, establishing links with Australian crime figures, and becoming involved in standover rackets in their own community". John Newman first warned of the Vietnamese gangs including the 5T in 1989 in NSW State Parliament saying: "The Asian gangs involved don't fear our laws. But there's one thing they do fear and that's possible deportation back to the jungles of Vietnam, because that's where, frankly, they belong." Newman campaigned strongly against the crime gangs in Vietnam and would receive regular death threats before his murder.[1]


The murder of Tran in 1995 sparked a power struggle within the organization. This was ultimately furthered with the death of the 5T successor. This led to an escalation of violence in 1999, as rival mobs, the 'Four Aces' and 'Madonna's boys', which were break-away groups of the 5T, challenged the 5T leading to an increase in the murder rate in Cabramatta. This gang warfare eventually led to the NSW Parliament establishing a Parliamentary Inquiry. During this inquiry in 2001, Tim Priest, a police officer based at Cabramatta warned of an upsurge of gang violence in Southwestern Sydney including Vietnamese, Chinese and Middle Eastern gangs. He was criticised for his comments by then NSW Education Minister John Aquilina and Reba Meagher, Newman's successor as Member for Cabramatta, who labelled him a "disgruntled detective" before being forced to apologise.

The successors of the 5T included the Four Aces and Madonna's Boys (Madonna) [Ro Van Le]. The leader and namesake of the gang, however, was subsequently murdered outside a Western Sydney pub in 1999 shortly after being released from prison, subsequently leading to the eventual demise of the 5T Gang.


  1. ^ [1]

Works cited


  1. ^ 1997 Four Corners Op. Cit.
  2. ^ Sydney Morning Herald "Police warn on Viet gangs" 2 January 1988 cited in Parliamentary Joint Committee Report.Parliament reported on Four Corners Op Cit.
  3. ^ Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence Australian Drug Intelligence Assessment 1993 page 40 cited in Parliamentary Committee Report Op Cit
  4. ^ NSW Crime Statistics cited in Joint Parliamentary Committee Report Op. Cit.
  5. ^ Sun Herald Op. Cit.