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The most popular "legitimate" businesses which are typically fronts for criminal activity and money laundering are: licensed premises, car dealerships, solariums, nail bars (often Vietnamese-run stores which are run by cannabis gangs) and massage parlours. There has been a recent rise in revenge shootings over drugs turf wars. Criminals have taken advantage of the confusion caused by the economic crisis and bank mergers, especially by using "phishing" techniques.This involves sending emails to random victims asking to confirm their bank details.The modern face of a professional gangster is like that of the CEO of a multi-national business, with "Mr Bigs" switching their operations from heroin to cannabis farms, and from cigarette smuggling to people trafficking, in search of minimal risk and maximum profit.
They use the answers to hack into the victims' accounts.
There has been a 75 per cent increase in such activity in first quarter of 2009. Jailed gang leaders continue to run their networks from within their cells.
The illegal drugs market constitutes almost half of that (£17.6 bn). Spirits, tobacco and diesel smuggling has cost £4.1bn, people smuggling £1.4bn and fake DVD production £300m.
2) Tanning shops and nail parlours are sometimes fronts for crime. There was a 250 per cent increase in 2008 alone in the number of computer bugs used by organised criminals to attack the IT systems of individuals, small businesses, governments and commercial organisations. Almost one in five known organised criminal gangs - around 800 - are involved in the importing, modification or supply of guns.
The Home Office is now rolling out a the use of mobile phone blocking technology in prisons after a pilot scheme was successful.7) Gangsters move around to exploit the fragmented structure of British policing.