The Hachahatak Connection, also simply known as the Akshish, "the Root", is an organized crime syndicate originating in the region of Eunos and Ekab and has an heavy presence all around the Kayamuca Sea, especially in Belfras, the Mutul, and Ayeli. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organisational structure and code of conduct. It originated as an association of terrorist groups and militant organizations fighting or promoting the idea of a independent Hachahatak State in southern Belfras. After a few decades of violence, it devolved into a loose association of criminal groups with the core activities of racketeering, the arbitration of disputes between criminals, and drug traficking and other acts of smuggling.
Following the devastation caused by the repression of the ill-fated Hachawaya, many Hachahatak migrated to the Mutul or other countries. New districts appeared in the Yajawil of Ekab filled with these refugees, who kept contact with their relatives that had remained on the other side of the Nor-Oxi Strait.
The first published account of what became known as "The Root" dates to the year 1930, during the Belfro-Mutulese War of 1928. A journalist reported that a number of Hachahatak-majority districts had become home of relatively large associations of criminals offering protection services against both the authorities and rival gangs. Post-war, they gradually progressed from small neighborhood operations to citywide and eventually state-wide organizations.
Shikoba Hushima was a Hachahatak independentist who had fled with his family to the Mutul after the defeat of Hachawaya. He returned to Belfras in 1936 under a false name and, alongside a few other relatives and allies, created the Silent Hand. The Silent Hand was a group that conducted a large number of terrorist attacks in Belfras, boasting that they fought for the "resurection of Hachawaya". They used extortions, kidnapping, and drug trafficking, as their main sources of revenues, and also smuggled weapons and explosives into Belfras to perform attacks on police officers and bank robberies. Most members of the Silent Hand ended up captured or killed, and it was disbanded. But a number of smaller organizations, either splinter cells or copycats, continued the fight for an independent Hachawaya.
The main strength of these groups, all claiming to be part of a larger association known as "The Root", was their connection with other Hachahatak communities in the Mutul. This gave them a greater access to drugs such as opium, cannabis, and coca leaves. The money obtained from drug trafficking allowed them to become the criminal lords of large networks of extortions, legal and illegal enterprises in Eunos paying a protection fee to "The Root".
The Root is a loose collection of around one hundred organised groups, called Iskas or "Clan". Each Iska generally has a claim over a territory, usually a town, a village, or a neighborhood, but it is not always the case. There's an estimated worldwide 10,000 members of the Akshish.
Most of the Iskas operate in Eunos and Ekab. They are concentrated in the poor neighborhoods of the two States, which serve as their strongholds. In Ekab, the Sanctuary of Hunaphu and Xbalanque in Tupak has long been the meeting place of the "Imoklasha".
The Root recruits members on the criterion of blood relationships resulting in an extraordinary cohesion within the family clan that presents a major obstacle to investigation. Sons of Imoklasha are expected to follow in their fathers' footsteps, and go through a grooming process in their youth to become an Alia Aholitopa, an "Honor Child". Other reasons might attract a young man to seek membership, and non-kin have also been admitted, but being recognized as an Hachahatak is always necessary. Marriages help cement relations within each Iska and to expand membership.
At the bottom of the chain of command are the Tushka chitokaka, "Honored Soldiers", who are expected to perform tasks with blind obedience until they are promoted to the next level of Minko, or Captain. Separated from the standard hierarchy but still linked to the Clan are the Nanpisa and then the Hopaii, or "Prophet". These two ranks exact names depend on the country and the religion of the Clan, as a Prophet might be called an "Evangelist" in Belfras, but they play an important role in the structure of the Iskas. It's to them that an up-and-coming gangster has to swear their dedication to a life of crime, either to the Bible or by performing a Blood-Letting to K'inich Ajaw, once again depending on their religion. A Pinki is the second-highest level of command in a Iska and report directly to the Boss, the Jiopaii (Warchief).
After the disparition of the Silent Hand and other militias, the power apparatus of the single families were the sole ruling bodies within the Connection. A superordinate body would only re-appear in the 1990s, as the result of negotiationso to end inter-family violences that had become all too common because of competing smuggling networks, or "clanic alliances".
While Belfrasians Iskas remain horizontal in nature, working with networks of alliances, agreements, and marriages rather than with a strict pyramidal structure, their Mutuleses counterparts show a greater level of structuration with stable mechanisms for coordination and dispute settlement centered around the cult to K'inich Ajaw and the Hero Twins. Contacts and meetings among bosses are frequent, generally in holy grounds, sanctuary, and temples which are refuges from both antagonists clans and law enforcement. At least since the 50s, the chiefs of the Roots are said to meet annualy at the Tupak Sanctuary of the Twins gods. The assembly exercises weak supervisory powers over the activities of all groups. Every boss gathered "must give account of all the activities carried out during the year and of all the most important facts taking place in his territory such as kidnappings, homicides, etc." Each year, a new Holitopa Aiapesa is elected. The Aiapesa is tasked with performing rituals to K'inich Ajaw, the patron deity of the Mutulese Root, settle inter-clanic disputes, grant authorizations to new Clans to operate, and collect a small percentage of illicit proceeds from all the Clans that participate to the Tupak Reunion. This money serve for the rituals to K'inich Ajaw the Holitopa Aiapesa has to perform and might also be redistributed into charitative works or to renovate or maintain temples and sanctuaries.
According to the Belfrasian Federal Security Agency, the economic activities of the Hachahatak Connection include drugs and Weapons smuggling. Further activities include skimming money off large public work construction projects, Money laundering, and traditional crimes such as usury and extortion. Drug trafficking remain the most profitable activity, representing around 60% of the total business volume of the Root.
The Root has had a remarkable ability to establish branches abroad, mainly through migration: The familial bond has not only worked as a shield to protect secrets and enhance security, but also helped to maintain identity in the territory of origin and reproduce it in territories where the family has migrated. It is now believed to have expanded beyond the "Belfro-Mutulese" axis, with Iskas having established branches in other Kayamucan states such as Tikal and Ayeli, but also in Ochran.
The presence of the Hachahatak Connection within Belfras has been counteracted since the late 1950s by the Federal Security Agency (FSA) and the National Gendarmerie with infrequent but potent support by the military in large scale raids or for intercepting smugglers crossing the Kayamuca Sea toward Belfrasian territory. Annual information releases by the FSA frequently condemn the Mutulese government, citing a lack of international cooperation in defeating the Akshish. This culminated in the 2004 policy change allowing the Gendarmerie to keep those suspected of being under the employ of the Akshish in police custody indefinitely, and those convicted of Akshish-related offenses are refused leave to be deported to Mutul.
The first Gendarmerie-Military joint operation against the Akshish was in 1984 when the Gendarmerie blocked off roads within a 4-mile perimeter of a confirmed Akshish storage facility and special forces infiltrated the area prior to a shoot-out starting. News outlets were told by anonymous sources that the special forces opened fire first and executed individuals surrendering in the raid, which ended with almost 17 people connected to the Akshish. Despite the sometimes negative media coverage, the Gendarmerie and the army continue to operate closely as of January 2019 to combat the Connection across the Federation.
The Akshish's influence over the Federation's drug underworld has been notable. Since it's inception it has grown to be almost 75% of all illegal narcotic trafficking in the south of the country and 50% in places such as Thessalona, Orestes, and Mondria. Weapons smuggling through the Akshish has led to a dramatic rise in armed crime within the Federation since the 1990s, leading to the creation of special organised task forces by the Gendarmerie and the arming of police forces across the country, who until this point operated unarmed. Private security firms have been legally allowed to operate within the country since 2001 as a result of this increase in armed organised crime, and firms such as Rook Security now provide security to banks, elite residences, and have even been seen supplementing police forces in static security (i.e Thessalona International Airport).
The first Hachahatak migrants arrived in Enyama during the inter and post war era, fleeing both repression and the devastation the conflicts brought to southern Belfras. The Hachahatak community at first did not develop any known organized criminal group, but as the original Root devolved from a guerilla paramilitary to a criminal network, migrants in Enyama were suddently contacted again by long separated distant relatives from Eunos. The 1970s economic depression that affected Enyama was an especially pivotal moment in the development of the Akshish in the country, alongside the dominant ethnic Tsurushimeses groups.
Before the Enyaman Civil War, the Iskas had managed to secure their own niche in the Enyaman underworld using their already established international smuggling networks. They kept amicable relations with the Gokudos which they supplied in drugs and prostitutes, through human trafficking, in exchange for guns which they then sold back in Belfras, the Mutul, Tsurushima, and Jhengtsang. This lucrative trade was abruptly stopped in 2019 and the current extend of the Root's operations in Enyama today is unknown.
The Hachahatak Connection does not has not managed to permanently implant itself in Jhengtsang. However, it has a strong presence in Jheng black and grey markets since the late fifties and the "Liberal Period". Despite the death of their major collaborators, like the Blue Sunflower Syndicate, Hachahatak imports of Opium resumed quickly in the following decade through the abuse of the Union's loose drug laws that often allow Hachahatak to openly buy large ammounts of Opium Latex under the guise of drug tourists. The true role of local government officials and of the state as a whole has often been questioned, as well as potential ties between them and the Root, but so far no substantial evidences pointing in that direction has emerged.
The Divine Kingdom has been accused of being a "refuge" for Hachahatak gangs. Historically, the Mutul had supported the Silent Hand and other terrorist groups operating in Belfras, before turning against them with the arrival of the Orientalists in power. Relations between provincial and local authorities with various Iskas have been denounced numerous time and, even if they have led to well mediatized arrests on some occasions, the Divine Throne response has always been to minimze the influence of the Hachahatak diaspora over criminal and local public affairs.
Belfrasians authorities have regularly published documents which denounce the Mutul has not only turning a blind eye to the Hachahatak Connection, but even to favour it, encouraging the drug trades toward Belfras and even Belisaria, turning the Divine Kingdom into an important plateform for Morphine and Heroïn trafficking and a cannabis producer. Local auhtorities have also gladly accepted investments from the Hachahatak communities, especially in religious buildings dedicated to sung gods such as K'inich Ajaw, Xbalanque, and the Night Sun.
Before the Civil war, police reports indicated that the Root had been allied with local Oxidentales gangs, selling them drugs to be distributed in popular tourist areas and festive locations. Because of the absence of a noticeable Hachahatak community on the island, the Root lack a street presence, remaining in a position of supplier. It is also suspected that it's through the Roots that the Hands of Thunder managed to build off an early stockpile of weapons and ammunitions.
During the sixties and seventies, a significant number of Mutuleses chose to emigrate to the Republic of the Kahei Islands. New gangsters groups emerged from these communities and joined the Kahei Underworld, alongside older groups like the Tekiya. However, it has been signaled that some Imoklasha had emigrated from Ekab alongside the Mutuleses workers, and had established branches of their Iska in the Daitoa Republic. They operate primarily from the Mutuleses-dominant neighborhoods and parts of their activities include the traditionals gambling, prostitution, extortion, and predatory loaning, but the core of their operations and the suspected main reason behind the implantation of the Root in Tsurushima remain the traffick of Opiumand Heroin. Kahei-based Iskas are said to be a vital step on the Opium road linking Jhengtsang to the Mutul and Belfras. Hachahatak Clans are also known by the Tsurushimeses authorities as gun-runners and to have sold small arms weapons smuggled from Oxidentale and Norumbia to both organized crime syndicates and street gangs.