Thugs in drape jackets: when the Teddy Boys ruled the roost

In the wake of wars, youth cults spring up, those too young to have fought behaving in a way to scandalise those who did. The Bright Young People were the younger siblings of those who perished, battalion by battalion, on the Western Front. (Come to that, it was after the end of the Peloponnesian War that Socrates’s corruption of the youth became intolerable to Athens.) So when Max Décharné describes the Teddy Boys as Britain’s first youth counterculture, what he means is that they were Britain’s first working-class youth counterculture. The Notting Hill riots of 1958 were largely blamed on Teddy Boys, possibly incited by Oswald Mosley’s sons  Décharné sketches

Ecuador’s gangs could trigger civil war

Ecuador’s most-wanted prisoner escaped from a maximum-security detention center in the port city of Guayaquil on Sunday. Chaos has reigned in the South American country since then, with President Daniel Noboa – who was inaugurated fewer than 50 days ago – declaring a nationwide state of emergency for 60 days on Monday. The Ecuadorian government appears ready to deploy its full forces after years of escalating discord with the gangs The prisoner, José ‘Fito’ Macías Villamar, is the leader of Los Choneros, one of Ecuador’s fiercest gangs. The group has humble beginnings, acting as the military wing of Colombian narcos in the 1990s, but has since has evolved into an expansive and internally divided

How gang warfare took over Sweden’s streets

Nils Grönberg was 19 years old when he was shot and killed: one bullet to his chest and one to his face. Images of his lifeless body lying on the ground in one of Stockholm’s more affluent neighbourhoods – the hyper-modern Hammarby Waterfront Residential Area – soon spread on social media. Many Swedes heard the news from their children. Nils Grönberg, or ‘Einár’ as he called himself, was one of Sweden’s most popular artists. And while middle-class Swedes keep hoping that their kids can be kept away from what goes on among the country’s criminal gangs, the murder of Einár once again proved that this is a mess we’re all

The shooting of a journalist – and the dark world of Dutch organised crime

In an attack that has rocked the Netherlands, a leading Dutch crime reporter is fighting for his life in hospital after being shot in broad daylight. Last night, at around 7.30 p.m., the investigative crime journalist Peter R De Vries was shot five times on a busy street in central Amsterdam after leaving a television studio where he was recording a talk-show. The horror on the face of the Amsterdam mayor was visible at a hastily-organised 11 p.m. press conference to discuss the attack, while tributes for De Vries flooded in from everyone from Dutch king Willem-Alexander to caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Rutte called the shooting ‘an attack on

Classic tangled thriller: Sky’s Gangs of London reviewed

There were plenty of TV shows around this week designed to cheer us up. Sky Atlantic’s Gangs of London, however, wasn’t one of them. After decades of desensitisation, it’s not easy for any film or television programme these days to make its screen violence genuinely horrifying. Yet, by my reckoning, Thursday’s first episode managed to do it at least twice before the opening credits had even rolled. By the time they did, it was clear that two terrified Welsh lowlifes from some kind of travellers’ camp had been tricked into carrying out a hit on Finn Wallace (Colm Meaney), London’s most powerful criminal boss — rather than, as they’d fondly