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Life in the 5T Gang
Transcript of Life in the 5T Gang
5T also roughly translates to “childhood without love” which summarised exactly how I feel.
Along with the other Vietnamese-Asians living in Cabramatta around my age I joined the 5T gang trying to seek refuge.
I ran away from home, leaving behind my family, house, neighbourhood and my old 'stable' lifestyle.
I had completely traded in my old life to live on the streets, surviving from the money I made by selling drugs.
(Written in a Vietnamese-Australian teenager's Point of View)
In the 1970s the first immigrants entered Australia, changing the ‘White Australian policy’. I came to Australia in 1986 when immigration had already surged, a large community of Vietnamese people including my family and I flocked to Cabramatta to stay with people of our own race. In a matter of a decade Cabramatta had transformed into an Asian community and marked the start of clashing ethnic lifestyles.
5T Stands for:
5T was formed in the mid-1980’s by Vietnam Youth in Australia. Gang members were marked to be in the 5T gang by being tattooed with a emblem consisting of a straight horizontal line and 5 joined vertical lines.
Tri Minh Tran rose to leadership of the 5T gang by the age of 14 in 1989. I heard that by the age of 11, he was arrested for carrying a sawn-off shotgun and in the next couple of years was suspected of the murder of two rival gang members. Everyone in 5T respects his leadership position and doesn’t dare go against his rules in fear of being kicked out of the gang.
On the streets the 5T gang became the dominant players in the Cabramatta heroin trade, people fear us but also they depend on us to be their dealers. My mother always asks me where I’ve been or where I’m going, she says I have changed. I have changed for the better, I have money now to by the things that all the other kids at school have. I finally fit in.
was good living with all the riches I could afford. Well it was, until the government stepped up the law and gave the Police more rights.
Before long all my gang member friends were disappearing.
In a matter of no time all my friends including myself were locked up in jail or rehab centers. In result, this marked the beginning of the end of the 5T Gang in Cabramatta.