The first time Emanuele Sibillo was arrested he was 15: The police raided his house in Naples’ Forcella neighborhood while he was trying to get rid of two guns.
Sibillo was in and out of prison over the following few years. Among the young inmates, he stood out for his ability to command respect, and for reading books and newspapers.
When he turned 18 in 2013, he prepared for the next big step: rebelling against the old Camorra clans of the Neapolitan mafia to take over the whole city.
Since the early 2000s, Italian authorities have arrested hundreds of Camorra bosses and, with the old mobsters either murdered or behind bars, children and young adults like Sibillo have begun taking their place.
The phenomenon was the subject of La Paranza Dei Bambini, a 2016 novel by Italian author Roberto Saviano, whose bestselling non-fiction work Gomorrah, published a decade earlier, shone a light on the Camorra and resulted in him getting permanent police protection.
Paranza translates as a small fishing boat but, in Camorra lingo, it refers to a criminal group led by youngsters or small fish. Saviano refers to such children — many of whom carry 9mm revolvers by the age of 15 or 16 — as piranhas.
“Crime [in neighborhoods such as Rione Sanita] becomes the only way to make it, the only way to get money, power, respect,” Saviano said. “It’s not about being unable to wait for your moment. These guys know their moment will never come [otherwise].”
In Naples, the trend is all the more alarming because the Camorra’s structure is horizontal, not hierarchical like Italy’s other main mafia outfits, the Cosa Nostra and ’Ndrangheta. The result is a never-ending state of war among Camorra clans for territorial control, a war now taken over by the paranze.
With generational change has come a change in style. Whereas the older mafia bosses often operated out of the limelight, observing omerta — the code of silence — today’s criminals broadcast their exploits on social media, where they pose in designer clothes, clutching 200 euro bottles of champagne.
They wear hipster-style beards and race through the alleyways of Naples on scooters like packs of wild dogs. And they shoot.
One man was shot in 2014 simply because he asked for a cigarette. An Indian man took a bullet in the chest in 2013 when two boys were “testing their gun.” One young mafia member placed under surveillance was overheard on a wiretap screaming with joy about a new gun.
“I have a chrome 357 Magnum with a rubber grip, just like Al Capone’s,” he said.
Last summer, the Naples Court of Appeals sentenced 42 members of two paranze from the Forcella and Decumani neighborhoods to a combined 500 years in prison
“Let’s not forget, these are just teenagers,” Giovannesi said.
Naples Chief Prosecutor Giovanni Melillo said that gangs are widespread in the city, where young people are recruited based on their ability for violence.
“The clans delegate to them the business of drug dealing and racketeering — a worrying phenomenon, but marginal compared to the [traditional] clan operations of infiltrating public administrations and financial markets,” Melillo said. “But when the paranze go overboard with raids, the [remaining] older bosses intervene in order to keep the peace.”
In 2014, Sibillo was 18 and considered the baby godfather of the Forcella neighborhood. A year later, he was dead, the victim of an attack by members of a rival clan.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
SHOW OF SOLIDARITY: The publisher’s ‘Apple Daily’ newspaper has had to raise the number of copies printed from 70,000 to 550,000 to meet a huge surge in demand They have occupied Hong Kong’s central business district, marched by the hundreds of thousands through the territory’s streets and endured tear gas and pepper spray in pitched battles with riot police. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters are now wielding a new protest weapon: their stock-market trading accounts. To show support for Jimmy Lai (黎智英), the publisher and outspoken government critic who was on Monday arrested under the territory’s new national security legislation, Hong Kongers have been piling into shares of his media company Next Digital. The result: a more than 1,100 percent surge in two days that propelled the stock to a seven-year