Glasgow Gangsters

Glasgow seems to have more than its fair share of gangsters, and each and every one of them masquerade as respectable businessmen.

As bits of information trickle out about each and every one of them, the extent of their criminal empire becomes apparent, because it is obvious that the police and politicians have had to have been involved, as well as respectable professionals, like lawyers.

Even the Presshas stepped back a bit. While they report some goings on, they are distancing themselves from out and out attacking, no doubt for fear of getting sued by those bent lawyers who are protecting the guilty.

Glasgow gangsters have built their empires on the backs of the poor downtrodden masses who have been suckered into a life of drug addiction, and who will go on to commit many petty crimes in their desperation to find the money for yet more drugs, with many young women turning to prostitution, and young men turning to burglaries.

money laundering
money laundering

Heavy drugs on Glasgow's streets

Tons of heroin and cocaine are freely available throughout Glasgow, yet the authorities seem powerless to stop it.

The big guys, the gangsters who are now multi-millionaires are easy to spot. They are ones building million pound houses and driving around in top of the range cars.

They have in the main turned to legitimate cash businesses to launder their dirty money, and this is why tanning salons, nightclubs, pubs, hotels, private hire companies and the latest, nurseries for pre-school children have become outlets for their filthy lucre.

Quite often, they put these assets into their wives names, or close family, so that they themselves can distance themselves from the income tax office.

This makes them almost untouchable. No IRS searches for proof of earnings if their names are not on the list of directors.

The Godfather

Now deceased, Arthur Thompson and his family ruled Glasgow with an iron fist. Arthur Thompson was a stop at nothing violent thug, who started his life of crime while barely a teenager, slashing victims with open razors.

He moved from there to robbing stores during the war years when times were hard for everybody. Obviously a man with no conscience whatsoever, so long as he got what he wanted, to Hell with everyone else.

By his 20s he had moved in to the extortion racket and was known for actually nailing people to any wooden surface - doors or floors, when they didn't pay their 'debt'.

So ruthless was he that he earned a grudging respect in the criminal underworld, and nobody dared to cross him.

He even at one point confronted the infamous Kray Twins on their home territory in London.

It was Arthur Thompson or his family who introduced heroin to Glasgow's populace. By giving out some free samples, they very quickly drew in almost a whole generation who soon found themselves addicted, and who then had to pay through the nose for more supplies.

These people were largely the young and uneducated, and he launched them on a life of crime and prostitution in order to obtain money to pay for their next fix. Many people have died from heroin overdosage in the years since then.

Paul Ferris
Paul Ferris

Paul Ferris

A right-hand man of Arthur Thompson, Paul Ferris had to flee south when he was implicated in the shootings of Robert Glover and Joe Hanlon, found dead in a car in Glasgow’s east end on the morning of the funeral of Arthur Thomson junior, who was shot dead outside his family home in Provanmill in Glasgow.

After the longest and most expensive trial in Scotland's history, Paul Ferris was found 'not guilty' of taking part in the murder of Arthur 'Fatboy' Thompson, but he was later jailed for 10 years for "conspiracy to sell or transfer prohibited weapons, conspiracy to deal in firearms and possessing explosives" after police requested the assistance of MI5 to finally nail him.

Paul Ferris is now out of jail and a very wealthy man, which makes a mockery of the Proceeds of Crime Act. Who says crime doesn't pay?

The Licensee Tam McGraw
The Licensee Tam McGraw | Source

The Licensee – Tam McGraw.

No-one outside of the underworld had heard the name Tam McGraw until he moved in the private hire trade, buying up or burning out smaller companies and incorporating them into his growing empire.
Everyone knew Mac’s cars were involved in the drugs trade, although they had many innocent drivers.
One of their cars when stopped by police was discovered to have a considerable sum of money in cash inside, as well as a handgun, yet no charges were ever brought.

The police intelligence followed Tam McGraw, until eventually they had enough evidence to charge him for being the brains behind a huge drugs consignment that arrived in Scotland from Spain.

He spent 8 months in jail on remand, but at the court case was let off with a ‘not proven’ verdict.

In Scotland, there are three possible court outcomes - ‘guilty’, ‘not guilty’ and ‘not proven’. Not proven simply means the case against someone has not been proven beyond all reasonable doubt, but neither are they declared innocent, as a not guilty result gives.

Tam McGraw collapsed and died of a heart attacka few years later, aged only 55.

In life, the newspapers always referred to him as an ‘alleged’ gangster, or as an ‘alleged’ drug dealer, because he had not been found guilty in court.

After his death, he was openly described as a gangster, even by his wife who then took over his controlling share in Macs cars which by this time has been renamed Glasgow Private Hire.

Margaret McGraw pictured with new husband, escort agency boss Jim McMinimee
Margaret McGraw pictured with new husband, escort agency boss Jim McMinimee

Margaret McGraw and Glasgow Private Hire

A new Law was brought out in Scotland, requiring all taxi and private hire companies to become licensed with the relevant authorities. Anyone with a criminal background would not be allowed to sit on the board of directors.

Margaret McGraw is still a director of Glasgow Private Hire, despite undercover reporters from the Daily Record newspaper catching her and her new boyfriend (now husband) bang to rights, by selling the reporter a sizeable quantity of cocaine. It seems that police took no action after this.


If she had been prosecuted, she could no longer sit on the board of directors, but no charges were brought and life continues as before, though why the widow of the Licensee felt the need to sell drugs is anyone’s guess, seeing as her late husband reputedly left her a legacy of £10M, none of which is actually in the UK (and is therefore untouchable by the authorities).

Read the story published in the Daily Record for yourself. It beggars belief that she got away with this!

The Licensee owned a string of luxury houses in Spain.

Proceeds of Crime Act UK

The Proceeds of crime Act is one of the better ideas the British government have brought out in recent years. It is designed to not allow criminals to profit from their crime.

So bank robbers, or drug dealers or anyone else who obtains money by criminal means would find themselves losing all their assets when found guilty in court.

It is seldom enforceable because criminals seldom put their assets in their own names as outlined above.

So, if one day their empire came crashing down and they found themselves banged up in prison where they belong, they would not have that luxury home or yacht or holiday apartment to go to when they were eventually released.

If you are a serial criminal, consider relocating to the UK where there is no death penalty, no guns (except for the criminal elements and certain sections of the police), and life imprisonment means about 10 years after which you’ll be allocated a social worker to make sure you have a comfortable home to live in and enough food to eat.

Stevie Malcolm
Stevie Malcolm

Stevie Malcolm

Stevie Malcolm, otherwise known as "The Fat Controller" is another who has risen to the top through owning a string of tanning salons and private hire companies.

Now a multi-millionaire and current owner of Glasgow's Network Private Hire, who recently obtained huge contracts from the Health Service, the Schools and the BBC, jobs that previously went to the proper licensed taxi trade.

Despite police objections, these new contracts went through and it is probably not an accident that one of their drivers is a senior Labour Councillor on Glasgow City Council, Jim Todd.

No doubt nepotism is alive and well.

Stevie Malcolm, however, is allowed to continue in what he does because he has a clean court record.

In the past he was arrested and charged with burning down a police car pound, and one of his companies was once found to operating with 100 stolen cars, but no doubt Stevie Malcolm knows whose pockets to line, as all charges were later dropped, or other people came forward and took the blame.

His assets include a £9M dream home being currently built at exclusive Gleneagles in Scotland.

The private hire simply does not pay that well.

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Comments 60 comments

Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 5 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

Great work, it amazes me how people get away with this.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

I've barely scratched the surface of the extent of blatant wrongdoing and obvious collaboration with the authorities that is going on. There are a huge amount of people involved in all of this, and it's us mugs, the public, who have to put up with it.

aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

Brave lady Izzy, what an eyeopener!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Think I might have to move to your neck of the woods, John, after publishing this!

Nan Mynatt 5 years ago

Izzy it appears that the whole world is hooked on drugs. I am surprised that Scotland is a drug world. Be careful, people don't like to be singled out.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

I think I should be OK - there is plenty about them already on the net and I'm not hearing of any of those sites getting reprisals.

Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

Whoah, this is very interesting... and scary too! Thanks for putting together such a great overview of the situation!

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Remember if anyone wants my contact details, I don't have any :)

Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

LOL. And congrats IzzyM! This Hub won the Staff Pick prize for Saturday in the SYTYCWO contest!!

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Wow!! That is wonderful!! Thank you so much!!!

Ms Dee profile image

Ms Dee 5 years ago from Texas, USA

Wonderful job putting out in the light such unlawful criminals given a free ride! And congratulations :)

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Ms Dee :) That lot have been getting away with too much for too long.

emdi profile image

emdi 5 years ago


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Emdi :)

WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

Congrats on your win. This is an interesting and informative hub. It makes my blood boil to see this kind of injustice, but there seems to be more and more of it everywhere these days.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

I can never understand how these guys get away with it time and time again. They have the money to pay the best lawyers of course. And people in authority, who you would hope to be completely honest and open, are almost certainly being bought off too. The days of the open razor and threats are long gone. A nice cruise on the Mediterranean buys an awful lot more :) profile image 5 years ago

Unfortunately it is not just in Scotland - read yesterday that the '1%' in the US have more wealth than all of the other citizens together - although some of that 1% is legitimate mosts of it has come from illegitimate sources

You are a brave woman -

thanks for the eye opener


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York

WOW! What a story! Quester is right--it isn't only in Scotland. Urban areas in the US suffer the exact same blight, and nobody seems to be able to effectively do anything about it. In spite of the fact that these pervasive drugs are illegal, the law doesn't seem to have any control over the problem whatsoever.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

It's time we all got together and drove them out, or something. Some say I'm brave for writing this - others might agree I'm stupid - but it needs brought out in the open, everywhere this is happening. These people MUST have protection from those who could successfully prosecute them.

Ruby H Rose profile image

Ruby H Rose 5 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

Wow, that is simply amazing, congratulations on the contest. Scary indeed, very informative, things we have to know, for sure.

K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California

Wow. Very cool work Izzy! Totally deserved the win.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America

Congratulations on the win! - I'd never seen this information before. Thanks!

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Ruby and Keystrokes :)

Dare say there are people like this in every town and city in the world. Sitting there in their expensive suits and driving their fancy cars, rolling in the money while people struggle to find the money to feed their habit.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Patty, it isn't just in Glasgow though, is it? It's everywhere. And when you think about, the papers carry stories about this big drugs bust, or this big intervention on the supplies, yet still every addict gets their fix so there must be a huge amount more drugs on the streets that we'll ever know about. I've written here about some of the guys at the top of the chain. Multi-millionaires! Can you imagine how much drugs they are shifting? Oh and thanks for the congrats :)

akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

Congrats on the win, Izzy - great topic!

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Thanks :)

carolapple profile image

carolapple 5 years ago from Suffolk Virginia

Very informative. Looks like you have researched this topic well and your writing style is a delight to read. We ordinary law-abiding types need to know this stuff!

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Carole :)

Although I knew a lot about the subject already, it actually took me several days to research through old and newer news reports to put this hub together. And the others in the group too.

Native Gardener profile image

Native Gardener 5 years ago from Topanga Canyon, California

This is a great story, and reads as a subject you are passionate about.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

I'd see every single one of them put away for life LOL, Just as well it's not up to me:)

DonnaCosmato profile image

DonnaCosmato 5 years ago from USA

Excellent job and great reporting! Congratulations on your prize!

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Thanks, Donna.

If I live long enough to collect it, that is!

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

The wrong-doing rich always hire the best lawyers to get them off...or at least minimize their sentences. Quite an account you have assembled here of Glasgow Gangsters. You are probably not on their all time favorite list, but congrats on your contest win. Well deserved.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Well half of them are dead and not a worry anymore. It's the ones still living I am worried about! But it stinks the way the law seems to work two ways, one for the rich and one for the poor, even when the rich only got there by illegal means.

sue,(old friend) 5 years ago

good one Izz, keep it up doll.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi Sue! 'Doll' sounds like a name those gangsters would use! Funnily enough it is also a Glasgow expression!

cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 5 years ago from Los Angeles

This has been enlightening. I had no idea. Thanks for writing about it! Congratulations :>)

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Thanks, Cat on a Soapbox :)

susan goodie 5 years ago

Please keep going Izzy Look at John healy Thornliebank taxis the Director George McDonald is no saint his Sons are Killers and Major drug dealers never worked but have bought houses and drive top of the range cars with money made by causing Misery to Families.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Thanks for those names Susan. I've more to write so no doubt they'll get a mention too!

profile image

Johnnydowney 5 years ago

Wow. Thought the days of gangsters were long finished.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Would be nice if they were! But unfortunately there seems to be as many as there ever was, only nowadays they are super-rich.

Roger Rabbit profile image

Roger Rabbit 5 years ago

No comment I never read this! lol!

Huxlion profile image

Huxlion 5 years ago from New York

Thanks for shining the light on this life of crime.

The story needed to be told.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

You're welcome lads! These people have no conscience and sadly there are plenty like them the world over.

pigfish profile image

pigfish 5 years ago from Southwest Ohio

Excellent Hub Izzy! Sounds like the beginning of a good book?!? A newspaper editor friend moved from our little city in Ohio to a bigger city near Washington DC and told me...."It's all the same [crime]. Just change the names and locations."

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

I'd get sued if I wrote a book about those rogues lol, but you are right, it is the same the world over. Same characters, different names.

pigfish profile image

pigfish 5 years ago from Southwest Ohio

How about making it fiction? about a movie?

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Guess it'd earn a lot more money than this hub ever will! Good idea :)

profile image

Fay Paxton 5 years ago

Congratulations on your win. After reading your excellent hub, I thoroughly's excellent.

rated up/awesome

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Aw...thanks Fay :)

Cheryl J. profile image

Cheryl J. 5 years ago from Houston, TX

Amazing information. Thanks for the update on gangster criminal activity. Great hub and Congrats.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Cheryl :) It's my home territory so I knew a lot about it to begin with, but the more I read, the more I had to read as new names got thrown into the ring. I've done a couple of spinoffs, but it would take a lifetime to give each of then a write-up!! (Too many)

Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago

There appears to be a lot that is rotten in the City of Glasgow like many other cities. It amazes me that criminals obviously prosper through the obvious cooperation of some in power and it seems to happen just about everywhere.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Sembj, you are spot on! It happens all over because there is obvious compromise/co-operation of those who could stop it. Some pockets being lined maybe? I used t trust politicians when I was young and gullible. Not now.

Glasgowgangland 4 years ago

Yes well done Izzie

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

Cheers, here's hoping they don't come and track me down LOL

mimosaman 4 years ago

does MARGARET MCGRAW (TAM MCGRAWS WIDOW) even control GOOGLE??????????? her house at 36 carrick drive mount vernon glasgow has been obscured in google maps street view!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

You can buy anything if you have enough money! The private hire must have paid REALLY well...

Oh and to everyone reading here, her address isn't private and one most people know anyway.

Anonymous 3 years ago

What Glasgow gangsters are still alive and active?

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