You enter the ghetto through a warren of decrepit alleys crowded with locals seeking refuge from the hot night air of their cramped homes. Suspicious stares alert you that you have entered Kingston's gangland. But if the local don -- or "area leader," in the polite lexicon of official Jamaica -- has granted you permission to enter, you are safe. Here, news travels like dye in water.

The local gang maintains its own system of law and order, complete with a holding cell fashioned from an old chicken coop and a street-corner court. It "taxes" local businesses in

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