The notion of ‘organised crime’ typically conjures up images of criminal gangs. Some mafia and bikie gangs do operate in parts of the Pacific and have featured in local and international media. However, we argue that understanding the threat of organised crime in the Pacific requires moving away from this popular perception. We suggest that the most significant organised crime involves the nexus between political elites and seemingly licit actors. Reframing ‘organised crime’ in this way provides us with a more nuanced understanding of its changing political economy in the region.