Members dressed like the Phantom Rouge have been caught in public scuffles
Teenage gangs inspired by Hunter x Hunter‘s Phantom Rouge group have been brawling in the streets of Ukraine cities. The group is called “Redan PMC” by the media (“Redan” is the Russian pronunciation of “Ryodan” from Genei Ryodan, the Japanese name for the Phantom Rogue, while PMC stands for Private Military Company). Many of the members wear black hoodies with white spider designs and the number “4” on the back, reminiscent of the Phantom Rouge tattoos.
The gangs appear to have started in Russia before sprouting up in Ukraine. A viral Telegram post last week showed the youths attacking people at a Moscow shopping mall.
One of the distinctive features are black hair, clothes & a spider with the number “4” on the jackets.
— Erik Korsas (@KorsasErik) February 24, 2023
257 підлітків затримали у Харкові за спробу масової бійки. Це учасники нової молодіжної субкультури ПВК #редан, яка прийшла до нас з росії. Військової кампанії це не стосується, так називають себе жартома. #львів #харків #луцьк #київ pic.twitter.com/bwUaDgFEGu
— Свідки Святого Хаймарсу (@ShobShho) February 27, 2023
Ukraine’s national police is accusing Russia of deliberately exporting the “Redan subculture” to Ukraine through disinformation campaigns on Telegram. The police said last Tuesday that it had blocked 18 Telegram channels and groups related to the Redan PMC.
For its part, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported last Monday that police have taken in 350 people—319 of them minors—for being involved in the Redan.
On the other hand, social media posts by youths suggest that the authorities may be overcomplicating the petty clashes between jocks and nerds. One viral Telegram post argued that the working class delinquents saw “anime kids wearing weird clothes in a mall, ask them what’s up with their outfit and beat their faces in.” The so-called anime kids got strong enough to fight back, leading to a series of scuffles in public places, only to attract media attention because of their unusual attire.
Independent news outlet Bellingcat noted that only few injuries have been reported among the youths, even at the scenes resulting in mass arrests.