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During World War III, Japanese crime families, known as the Yakuza, became major players in worldwide crime. While the dominant Chinese regime cracked down on the black market the Japanese mob became a sort of antihero resistance for the Pacific Rim, smuggling people and goods in and out of China. Their power only grew as China fell apart, and by the early 2200s they were the dominant force in world crime.

In the second decade of the century the Yakuza found a powerful patron in Dr. Wily. His technical expertise and combat drones gave them a useful ally. Under Wily's guidance they produced the Shadow Hunters, an android force that supported Mikage Yukiato, the leader of all the family.

The rise of Serwa Mwozoki ended the rule of the Yukiato family. Sera reorganized the crime syndicate, aligning with a resurgent Chinese criminal network, and the crime monopoly broke apart. Without a single group in charge, smaller operators have been able to seize the spoils and build their own power bases to take advantage of a world that's been through over twent years of war.

Current criminal organizations are typically small or limited in scope. The Triads remain an unsavory but important part of the Ouroboros regime, while the remains of the Yakuza hold the rest of the Pacific Rim under their aegis. American mob organizations are split between the Dotcom Mafia, run by Rich Dotcom, and element of the "traditional" Italian mafia run by Faceas Clay.

Pirate groups are also on the rise, and the boom in space exploration has marked the beginning of a "Golden Age of Piracy." Pirate groups led by the Bonne family and Captain Beard fly under the flag of Ouroboros, while the Robot Masters rely on Pirate Man. The Deathsatan clan has dominated space piracy for the last few years, with elements of Devilman's fleet working with Nephilim.

Independent criminals seldom have access to most cutting edge technology, though tattoo cybernetics was actually developed by Yakuza scientists. Power armor has also found widespread use, though most pirates looking for personal power still turn to cybernetics or combat vehicles such as ride armors. Advanced weapon systems like Mimic and Copy are virtually unknown, especially in criminal groups with no ties to a larger power base.