Mr Asia : Last Man Standing : The Inside Story Of Australia’s Most Notorious Drug Syndicate (Book Review)


Mr Asia : Last Man Standing : The Inside Story Of Australia's Most Notorious Drug Syndicate

Mr Asia : Last Man Standing : The Inside Story Of Australia's Most Notorious Drug Syndicate

Do not think for one instant that a life of crime is glamorous and exciting. It is not. It is a life of degradation, dishonesty, misery, violence, and loss of liberty.

It has been more than 30 years since the Mr Asia drug syndicate came apart, when the handless, toothless body of Martin Johnstone was found dumped in a quarry in England. The members of the syndicate were responsible for a string of dead bodies all over the world and the importation of hundreds of kilograms of heroin and marijuana into Australia, New Zealand and Britain – and they made tens of millions of dollars doing it.

In this never before heard story from the only surviving member of the syndicate, James Shepherd tells of Mr Asia’s rise and fall in gritty, horrifying detail. This is not the flashy, glamorised account put forward in Underbelly, but raw, unadulterated truth. James Shepherd was named by the 1983 Stewart Royal Commission as second in charge of the Mr Asia Drug Syndicate, and was given a 25 year sentence for his role. The long years spent in jail contemplating the murder and misery caused by the syndicate convinced him that the full story needed to be told – as a warning to others, if nothing else. The result is something unique – as fascinating as it is horrifying. It’s the real insiders account of the multi-million dollar, kill-or-be-killed world of our most notorious international drug syndicate.

Author Information

Described as a career criminal, James Shepherd has a history spanning over 50 years. Very few people have such a detailed understanding of how the violent and brutal criminal world operates and the real lives criminals lead. Born in New Zealand, James operated at the highest levels of the criminal world in New Zealand, Australia, England and America. Acknowledged by the 1983 Stewart Royal Commission as second in charge of the Mr Asia Drug Syndicate, he was sentenced in 1986 to 25 years imprisonment for his involvement. Over the years he has often been approached by the media for the real Mr Asia story. A private, articulate and intelligent man, James now chooses to live a quieter life in Sydney, Australia.

Do not think for one instant that a life of crime is glamorous and exciting. It is not. It is a life of degradation, dishonesty, misery, violence, and loss of liberty.

So says Jim Shepherd, a ‘career criminal’ who was jailed for 25 years in 1986 for his involvement in the Mr Asia Drug Syndicate.

The continuing success of the Underbelly series is proof that there is a huge audience for true, homegrown stories of organised crime. Shepherd’s voice is truly authentic. He speaks from the heart and doesn’t hold back on the grimier details, even when he is implicated.

Reviewed By Toni Whitmont, Booktopia Buzz Editor

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