The Gang War of 2002 was a gang war in London between all four gangs: the Bethnal Green Mob, the Collins Gang, the Yardies and the Triads. All four gangs were against one another, none had any allies. The war was the biggest gang war ever to take place in London.
The war was declared and planned by the Bethnal Green Mob gang leader, Charlie Jolson, who stirred up the carnage by using Mark Hammond to attack each other gang simultaneously. Other key participants of the war were Jake Jolson and Frank Carter. The main bulk of the war only lasted for a single day in 2002, but it would have long lasting consequences for all involved. It was a bigger war than the Gang War of 2004, which followed two years later.
Before the War
Charlie Jolson and the Bethnal Green Mob were the longest running gang operating in London. In the olden days, Charlie had run the city with gangsters like Ronnie and Reggie Kray. After their imprisonment, Charlie took over with his gang and the London he ran was one he desired to keep. Problems began arising for Charlie in the 1990's due to the arrival of other gangs within the city. Three other gangs emerged around this time period. Gangsters from Jamaica emigrated to the city along with Chinese gangsters. The Triads and the Yardies were then formed in London, with each gang occupying it's own turf within central London. Nick Collins, a younger and more modern gangster than Charlie, formed his gang around this time also, and started taking over Soho by getting involved in prostitution. This angered Charlie Jolson, as he felt he was no longer in command and the city was slowly falling apart from what he once remembered it. History had passed Charlie by and his London was one he no longer recognised. This instigated him to turn back the clock so it would be like the good old days.
Preparation for the War
All four gangs had never really got on, but they stayed out of each others way. Most were even unaware that Charlie was still in business as some believed he had retired from the gangster life altogether. In 2002, Charlie decided that it was time to wipe out each gang from the city, so he came up with a scheme to bring an end to them all. Wanting to avoid his own gang getting involved, Charlie decided to use Mark Hammond, an ex member of the Collins gang. Charlie knew Mark was a well trained gangster and decided to use him to stir up trouble. Mark was released from prison for an armed robbery in 2002. Two months after his release, Charlie instigated his plan. In order to get Mark to work for him, Charlie decided to kidnap his wife and son, so he could blackmail Mark into doing jobs for him. Charlie ordered the kidnapping of his wife, Suzie Hammond and his son, Alex Hammond. He sent some of his heavies to carry out the job. It didn't go so well however and Suzie ended up getting killed in the attempted kidnapping. Alex however was taken away but Mark followed them to Charlie's warehouse. Mark however was ambushed at the warehouse and Charlie began to put his plan into place.
Charlie had arranged certain jobs that he wanted Mark to carry out in order to make his plan work. His plan was to use Mark to weaken each gang, cause carnage between the three other gangs and then hand Mark over to them on a boat he owned called the Sol Vita. Earning each gangs respect and trust by capturing the man responsible for causing them so many problems, Charlie would then lure them onto the boat in which he would plant a bomb. With each gang leader present, Charlie would flee the ship, detonate the bomb and blow them all up, eliminating his enemies from London once and for all and regaining complete control of the city.
Beginning of the War
Upon Mark's capture, Charlie kept his plan secret from him. All he told Mark was that he was going to do what he told him to do or else he would kill his son. Mark asked him why he was doing this but was not given a direct answer. First of all, Charlie had Mark hit his old gang, the Collins gang. Charlie ordered Mark to burn down Collins restaurant in Soho, The Republic. Mark carried out the order and killed a number of his old colleagues before burning the bar to the ground. Enraged at the attack, more gangsters arrived on scene, only to be gunned down or arrested by responding police led by Frank Carter. The Collins gang were furious and vowed to kill Mark for the attack.
Charlie then had Mark attack the Triads by stealing an expensive statue that he wished to possess. This particular attack was important for Charlie. He knew the Triads would recognise Mark as a Collins gangster and thus they would blame the Collins gang for the attack and think they were responsible. This would cause the Triads to retaliate against the Collins gang and stir up hatred between them. Mark was confused as to why Charlie wanted to start a war with the Triads, unaware that the Triads would in fact only blame the Collins gang and Mark himself for the attack. Mark stole the statue and killed a number of Triads in the process. He was also recognised as a Collins gangster by Kum Dong, who informed his boss and leader of the Triads, Shan Chu Lee, that the Collins gang will pay for the insult.
Another unintentional cause of more gang warfare was when Charlie had corrupt cop, Clive McCormack and his nephew, Jake Jolson, discretely let Frank Carter know of a delivery taking place at St Saviour's dock. The delivery was a shipment being carried out by the Yardies at a depot the gang owned. Charlie somehow knew of this shipment, presumably because he kept an eye on the Yardies activities. He believed that the Yardies would suspect the Triads as being responsible for leaking the information to the police, as the Triads worked the shipping warehouses. Frank questioned how Jake knew of this shipment but decided to investigate it anyway. Upon arrival, he got into a shootout with the Yardies and backup SO19 units arrived to help him. The shipment was captured and the Yardies who had been there were either killed or arrested. The Yardies wanted to know who was responsible and blamed the Triads for the leak.
Middle of the War
The Yardies retaliated against the Triads as they believed they had been responsible for the shipment leak to the police. They sent a large group of men down to Chinatown where they engaged in a full on gang war. Chaos erupted and gangsters from both sides were massacred. Frank Carter attended to the urgent call with backup SO19 units and they managed to bring the scene under control. A large number of gangsters from both gangs were massacred however and all of them were either killed or arrested.
This war wasn't enough for Charlie however. Charlie spoke with Jake on the phone and told him what he wanted Mark to do next. As such, Jake played a big part in the next gang attack. The Bethnal Green Mob had kidnapped a Triad called Johnny Chai prior to the start of the gang war. Jake beat him to death at the warehouse and had Mark drive the dead corpse over to Chinatown. He then told Mark he must drive to Holywell Street while luring the Triads. Upon arrival, Jake and other Bethnal Green Mob gangsters would be waiting for them, so they could all massacre the Triads together. Mark believed him and dropped off the dead body in Chinatown. He was then chased by an army of Triads to Holywell Street. It was a setup however and the base actually belonged to the Yardies. As such, another war took place between the Triads and Yardies, with Mark Hammond right in the middle and being attacked from both sides by each gang. After a vicious shootout, Mark managed to defeat the last surviving gangsters and became the sole survivor of the gang battle. From this point onwards, the Yardies now also wanted Mark dead for attacking them, and presumably believed he was still part of the Collins gang. This instigated more hatred and fueled fire for the gang war. Simultaneously to this gang battle, Frank Carter had also personally attacked the Yardies in order to save two rookies that they'd captured. He killed a number of Yardies in the process but managed to save his colleagues.
After taking care of some other errands that Charlie needed doing, Mark was ordered to hit the Collins gang once again. This time Charlie requested that Mark kidnap one of Collins girls, a stripper called Layla, who worked at a strip club in Soho. Mark agreed, and with help from his new partner Yasmin, the two of them killed the Collins gangsters at the club. Charlie's final job for Mark was to steal drug money belonging to the Yardies at their crackhouse in Shoreditch along Rivington Street. Mark obeyed the order, but by this point, he'd figured out that Charlie wouldn't fulfill his end of the deal, so he did the job in order to get the money for himself rather than for Charlie. Mark killed a number of Yardies and successfully stole their drug money.
After all the carnage caused by Mark and Frank, the gangs were now at war with one another, with the exception of Charlie's Bethnal Green Mob, which hadn't suffered much at all. They had however been weakened only prior to Mark's capture. Mark had killed a number of them when he'd first arrived at Charlie's warehouse in order to find Alex, and Frank had also attacked the gang at a basement brothel with armed police and taken out a number of gangsters on site. Despite this, the gang hadn't suffered any heavy losses and at this stage weren't a part of the main gang war.
The tables began to turn for Charlie however when Frank Carter took out one of his more superior heavies, Big Walter. Walter was attempting to assassinate his partner, Joe Fielding, and Frank stopped the attack by either arresting or killing Walter and the other Bethnal Green Mob gangsters. Afterwards, he headed to a lock-up belonging to Charlie and killed more of them. He then learnt of a warehouse Charlie owned which he headed to for further investigation.
Realising Charlie wasn't going to give Mark his son back, Mark turned on Charlie by attacking his heavies at a depot he owned in Kings Cross. He managed to kill Sparky, one of Charlie's superior heavies, and he also didn't hand over any of the stolen cash from the Yardies to them. Mark killed a number of gangsters here but was eventually subdued by Jake who beat him unconscious and took him back to the warehouse for interrogation. Mark awakened with a captured Yasmin and was confronted by Charlie who finally revealed his mastermind plan to the pair of them.
With each of the three others gangs clashing violently with one another, Charlie rang each gang leader and instigated the final phase of his plan. With Mark captured, he revealed to each gang leader that he had him in his possession. He then told them he would hand over Mark to them at a cargo ship he owned called the Sol Vita. Each gang leader wanted Mark dead so they agreed to Charlie's offer and prepared to head down to the boat. Charlie had a heavy of his called Eyebrows place a bomb on the boat, which would be used to kill all the other gang leaders. He then ordered Jake to retrieve the detonator and prepared to head down to the boat to finish what he'd started. Thinking it was game over for them, Mark and Yasmin effectively gave up. Frank however then arrived to rescue them. Having heard Charlie's plan, Frank decided to free them both in exchange that they help him bring Charlie down. Mark and Yasmin agreed and Frank let them free from the cell they'd been locked in. All three of them shot their way out of the warehouse, killing many Bethnal Green Mob gangsters in the process. They then went their separate ways to stop Charlie.
End of the War
Frank tracked Jake down to the depot and followed him to the Sol Vita. Mark and Yasmin meanwhile attacked the Bethnal Green Mob at Charlie's mansion and killed a large number of his men guarding the place. They then phoned Frank who told them that Charlie was at the Sol Vita along with the last of his men and that they also had Alex held captive on board. All three of them then headed to the Sol Vita.
Each gang leader, accompanied by their men, headed down to the boat also. The Bethnal Green Mob were all there first, setting up the boat with explosive devices to wipe out the enemy gangs. Frank however intervened and killed a load of them, including Jake. Each gang then also arrived and a war immediately erupted between all four gangs as they all suspected something was up. Mark and Yasmin then arrived and entered the boat, taking down members from each gang in the process. Eventually, they all reunited in the cargo room and found Alex. Charlie tried to escape the carnage, but was captured by Nick Collins and his gang. All three gang leaders then arrived downstairs on the boat to confront Charlie and find out what had been happening.
Mark and Frank both explained what Charlie had been up to, and after listening to the stories, the gang leaders all concluded Charlie had been responsible for all the carnage and had started the war. They agreed to let Mark, Yasmin and Alex go free. They refused Frank however because he was a cop. Preparing to kill both Charlie and Frank, the war appeared to be over, as each gang made their peace with each other and forgave the actions of one another, after it was revealed Charlie had been responsible for it all.
Realising it was over, and with his loyal heavies dead and his gang defeated, Charlie produced the detonator for the bomb and tried to take out each gang with him. During the chaos, each gang fought with one another once again, as they all desperately tried to flee the ship. Many gangsters on board died during the chaos to flee the ship and the boat eventually exploded. This was the final stage of the gang war and was where it concluded.
The ship exploded and took out Charlie and his Bethnal Green Mob with it. Nick Collins also died in the explosion, and a fair amount of his men were killed also. The Triads were also all completely wiped out along with their leader. The Yardies were least effected, and the gang leader, Jamahl, managed to escape alive.
The explosion ended the war and eliminated Charlie and his Bethnal Green Mob from London altogether. It also eliminated Shan Chu Lee and his Triads from London altogether. Nick Collins was eliminated also. Most of his gang died in the explosion and it meant the gang did nothing for two whole years. The Yardies were least effected and their leader survived.
It could ultimately be argued that Jamahl and his Yardies overall won the gang war of 2002. He was the only gang leader to survive and his gang were least effected by the war.
The Collins gang were effectively the runners-up and were the next least effected gang. The gang war of 2002 severely weakened them however and led the way to their overall demise. Their leader Nick Collins died, along with a large number of his own men. The gang reportedly did nothing for two years after the death of Nick Collins. They were however resurrected when Nick's younger brother Jimmer was released from jail in 2004, but by then, the damage had already been done.
The Bethnal Green Mob and Charlie Jolson was completely eradicated and the gang was no more. Likewise with the Triads, who were also wiped out in London completely, as they do not reappear two years later. Both gangs therefore lost the war.
- The gang war heavily relied on the success of Mark Hammond. Had Mark have been killed during his first assignment then the war would never have taken place.
- Jamahl thrived after the Gang War of 2002 and as such won it.