Restrictive deterrence in Hong Kong drug dealing : exploring a framework of certainty reduction – severity mitigation

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
Journal / PublicationTrends in Organized Crime
Online published13 Apr 2023
Publication statusOnline published - 13 Apr 2023



Using a framework of certainty reduction – severity mitigation, the paper examines how drug dealers in Hong Kong adopted restrictive deterrence strategies to reduce the certainty, and mitigate the severity, of punishment. It examines seven concrete techniques, including camouflage in public places, picking a safe time and position, counter-reconnaissance, choosing a less severe activity, stashing the product, passing risk, and cooperating with the police. We found that the techniques used by drug dealers correspond well to this framework, but that high-level dealers make more use of severity mitigation strategies while low-level dealers use certainty reduction strategies more. Moreover, the restrictive deterrence strategy is transferred through dual paths in which trust plays a role among dealers with a triad background. © 2023, The Author(s).

Research Area(s)

  • Certainty and severity of punishment, Drug dealer, Hong Kong, Restrictive deterrence, Triad

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