Asian Boyz

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Asian Boyz
Founded 1970s[1]
Founding location Long Beach / Los Angeles, California, United States.
Years active 1970s[1]-present
Territory Active in 14 U.S. states (2009)[1]
Ethnicity Of Laotian, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Filipino.[1]
Membership (est.) 1,300-2,000[1]
Criminal activities Drug trafficking, robbery, assault, burglary, theft and homicide[1]
Rivals Tiny Rascal Gang[2] Valerio Street Gang,[3] East Side Longos,[4] Bloods, Sureños,[5] Wah Ching,[6] Lower East Side,[7] Viet Boyz[8]

The Asian Boyz gang, also known as ABZ or AB-26, are a primarily Asian-American street gang. The group formed in Southern California during the 1970s as protection[9] for immigrant and refugee Asian teens from pre-existing Hispanic gangs.[10] According to the FBI, the gang is most likely of Cambodian-American origin.[1] The gang's members are primarily of Southeast Asian descent[11] According to the FBI's 2009 National Gang Threat Assessment, the ABZ are active in 28 different cities, in 14 different states across the U.S.[1]Their motto is "1226" which can mean "1 Life 2 Live, 26 to Die" or "1 Life 2 Live, 2 6icc to die", and the 1st, 2nd and 26th letters of the alphabet, which spells out ABZ.


The end of the Korean WarVietnam War and the "Secret Wars" brought a new wave of Asian immigrants to America, many of whom were mainly refugees from war-torn countries and/or escaped brutal political conditions in Southeast Asia. Due to costs of living, many of these refugee groups resettled into more affordable "ghetto" neighborhoods in California which were majority Black or Hispanic. Lack of knowledge about American culture and the English language however ultimately created barriers that isolated these refugees.[9]

The children of these refugees often found it difficult to learn in American schools as they would also not be able to speak English well and/or were discriminated against and bullied due to their race. Their neighborhoods were often already gang and drug infested; and their home/family life was not fulfilling as their parents were often always working just to get by and when they were home, wouldn't understand their children's issues due to culture differences and generation gap. The result was that the refugee teens began caring less or completely giving up on their academic life and began seeing gang life as a way out.[9]

The Asian Boyz gang was formed in Southern California due to Asian immigrant teens being harassed by the numerous pre-existing gangs in their respective neighborhoods. The Long Beach ABZ set formed as protection from the East Side Longos, a Mexican American gang that originated from Anaheim Street.[12]

In 2010, the Asian Boyz gang, along with the rival gang Wah Ching, were featured on Season 7, Episode 3 of Gangland titled "A Killer's Revenge," that featured a Long Beach ABZ gang member and rapper, Sicco Blue. [13]

Notable crimes[edit]

In 1990-1991, Pierre Mercado, the brother of Marvin Mercado, was responsible for four murders in an attempt to intimidate other gangs. He fled to the Philippines and remained there for 11 years until he was extradited to the United States in 2012.[14] In 2013, Mercado was sentenced to 218 years to life in prison.[15]

In August 1997, the leader of the Asian Boyz Van Nuys set, Sothi Menh, was arrested in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and extradited to the United States after fleeing the country in the preceding January. He was wanted for committing five gang-related murders in the San Fernando Valley in 1995.[16] In September 1998, Asian Boyz members were charged with three murders and five attempted murders.[17]

On August 12, 2006, a fight broke out between Asian Bloods and ABZ gang members at a house in Lowell, Massachusetts, where a birthday party was being held. Asian Boyz members left the party and allegedly started throwing bottles and other objects. Billeoum Phan, 14, began firing at the Asian Boyz members. One of the shots hit Asian Boyz member Samnang Oth, killing him. Phan was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to incarceration until the age of 21, with an additional requirement to serve a 5-year probation after his release.[18][19]

In December 2006, Three members of the gang were charged with beating a 15-year-old boy named Sang Vu to death in New York. Richie Nguyen, who was 16, was sentenced to 5 to 15 years of prison for manslaughter.[20][21][22] Samnang Chou was sentenced to 10 years of prison for second-degree assault.[7][23]

In March 2008, four men followed 24-year-old Vutha Au from Santa Rosa and stopped at a gas station near Jenner, California, where they fatally shot him in public. Quentin Russell, who was age 24 at the time, was the shooter, and Sarith Prak, David Prak and Preston Khaoone were charged in connection with the murder. All four defendants were convicted[24] and sentenced to life without parole on July 27, 2012.[25]


According to the FBI's 2009 National Gang Threat Assessment, the ABZ have an estimated 1,300-2,000 members nationwide although by now that number has probably grown.[1]. Initially, members were mostly Cambodian or Vietnamese with some Filipino but the ABZ spread across the United States with numerous factions mainly in California, throughout the Midwest and up the East Coast into the New England region. All of these factions also have their own regional differences.[26][27] On the West Coast, the Asian Boyz gang colors are Blue and Navy, similar to the Crips from which they learned from. Their style of dress is like the Cholo style of their Hispanic rivals while their way of speaking and mannerisms emulate the Crips. There are members of all Southeast Asian ethnicities, namely Cambodian, Laotian, Vietnamese, and Filipino.[28] In the Midwest and on the East Coast, along with Blue and Navy, the gang also uses Forest Green, Black, and White. Their style of dress leans more towards Hip-Hop casual. In the Midwest, members are known to be of Hmong,[29] Burmese, Karen[30] and Thai descent while on the East Coast, specifically in New York, there are a lot more members of Korean and Chinese descent[31]. Asian Boyz gang tattoos include the dragon head with crystal globes, a symbol of high rank and OG Status. Also common are Sak Yant tattoos that are supposed to offer power, protection, fortune, charisma and other benefits for the bearer. Folk and Hindu gods and spirits are also tattooed among Tai and Khmer members.[32][26]

They are also known to have members in Indiana, Minnesota, New York and Texas, as well as within the U.S. Armed Forces.[33]


The Asian Boyz has been in a long conflict with the Wah Ching gang. One of the first shootouts between the two gangs occurred in the 1990s in an El Monte pool hall. An Asian Boyz gang member, Lea Mek, was killed by Wah Ching gang member Chieu Luong Yang.[34][35]

Another shootout between the two gangs occurred in San Marino that led to the deaths of two youths at a San Marino High School graduation party in June. After an investigation by the authorities, police claimed that when the Asian Boyz gang members arrived at the party, they saw that Wah Ching gang members were there, prompting them to leave and return with weapons. At least nine gang members were arrested, and police seized five weapons from homes searched in conjunction with the arrests. The shootouts between the two gangs were called "Summer Madness" by the Asian Boyz gang.[34][35]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i National Drug Intelligence Center (January 2009). "National Gang Threat Assessment 2009". FBI. 
  2. ^ Hal Marcovitz; Dennis Dressang (2010). Gangs. ABDO. p. 33. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Kevin Starr (2011). Coast of Dreams. Random House. p. 83. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "As Cultures Meet, Gang War Paralyzes a City in California". New York Times. May 6, 1991. Retrieved March 16, 2014. 
  5. ^ Moore, Derek J. (March 15, 2008). "Ruthless Asian gangs blaze trail of violence Killing in Jenner casts spotlight on ultraviolent syndicates with roots in Long Beach". Press Democrat. 
  6. ^ "Asian Boyz Face Group Trial in Spate of Killings". 
  7. ^ a b LaDuca, Rocco. Asian Boyz gang member from Utica stopped at Canadian border, Utica Observer-Dispatch, May 16, 2013.
  8. ^ Laviana, Hurst (September 9, 2013). "Detective says 2011 homicide is third involving feuding gangs". The Wichita Eagle. 
  9. ^ a b c "Asian Gangs & Why Join One". Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  10. ^ WILLWERTH, JAMES (2001-06-24). "From Killing Fields to Mean Streets". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  11. ^ "Asian Boyz Crips". 2013-07-23. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  12. ^ "From Killing Fields to Mean Streets". Time Magazine. June 24, 2001. Retrieved March 20, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Gangland (TV Series 2007–2010)". IMDb. 
  14. ^ "Pierre Mercado, Asian Boyz LA Gang Member, Convicted Of Four Murders". Huffington Post. 16 August 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  15. ^ Marcellino, Elizabeth (May 14, 2013). "Former Asian Boyz gang leader gets 218 years". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Gang Suspect Returned; Man Sought In Asian Boys Case In Custody". 2 August 1997. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  17. ^ Evelyn Larrubia (20 September 1998). "Asian Boyz Face Group Trial in Spate of Killing". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  18. ^ Mulvihill, Maggie; Favot, Sarah; Berg, Kirsten (February 12, 2012). "Teen killers get inconsistent sentences". Boston Telegram. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Lowell murder trial set to begin this week". Lowell Sun. December 2, 2008. Retrieved December 4, 2013. 
  20. ^ Crossett, Nate (2007). "Nguyen Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter". WKTV. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  21. ^ Crossett, Nate (1 March 2007). "Third Asian Boyz Gang Member Pleads Guilty". Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  22. ^ "Nguyen Sentenced 5 - 15 Years". WKTV. April 11, 2007. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Utica Man Sentenced to 10 Years". WKTV. March 14, 2007. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  24. ^ Payne, Paul (28 June 2012). "Jury convicts 4 gang members in Jenner gas station slaying". The Press Democrat. Retrieved 29 June 2012. [permanent dead link]
  25. ^ "Asian Boyz Gang Members Sentenced to Life without the Possibility of Parole Plus 25 Years to Life for Blind Gas Station Murder" Archived October 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine., Press release, 27 July 2012, by the Office of the District Attorney, Sonoma County. Retrieved August 13, 2013
  26. ^ a b "Police eye gang in killing". NewsTimes. 27 January 2005. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  27. ^ "24 with gang links arrested in Maine cities during sweep". The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram. 21 August 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  28. ^ Ann Byers (15 January 2011). Frequently Asked Questions About Gangs and Urban Violence. The Rosen Publishing Group. p. 34. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  29. ^ Xaykaothao, Doualy. "Becoming Hmong American". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2018-01-25. 
  30. ^ Zremski, Jerry. "It's tough for the teens". Retrieved 2018-01-25. 
  31. ^ KIFNER, JOHN (January 6, 1991). "Asian Gangs in New York -- A Special Report; Immigrant Waves From Asia Bring an Underworld Ashore". The New York Times. 
  32. ^ "Tattoos and Their Meanings" (PDF). 
  33. ^ Thompson, Mark. "Hail, Hail, The Gang's All Here…". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2017-07-16. 
  34. ^ a b "Officials Link Gang Rivalry to Party Slayings". Viki Torres (LA Times). Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  35. ^ a b "Multi Agency Effort to Bring Two Violent Gang members to Justice". Retrieved 14 February 2015.