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June 24, 1999
Arrest of Southeast Asian Mobsters in Vancouver Could Be A Serious Blow To Indo-Canadian Gangsters
Arthur J Pais in Vancouver
The arrest of 12 Asian mobsters last week who ran drug gangs in British Columbia and other Canadian provinces could give a big jolt to Indo-Canadian heroin gangs, police authorities here believe.
At least six Indo-Canadians connected with heroin and cocaine sales have been killed or seriously hurt in the past 12 months in Vancouver. Some of the attacks took place in broad daylight.
The murder of self-admitted drug-dealer Bindy Johal, 27, at the Palladium Night Club and in the presence of more than 300 people over six months ago is not yet solved. "People are too scared to talk," says a police official. "He had crossed too many paths and angered too many people."
Law enforcement insiders believe the arrests could lead to the unraveling of the Johal murder conspiracy.
Police spokesperson Sergeant Patrick Convey of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said on June 23 that some of the mobsters were arrested in Vancouver and others were nabbed in Hong Kong.
"It was a big Asian crime conspiracy," he said, adding that many police organizations are involved in the on-going investigation in Hong Kong and other parts of Asia.
Indo-Canadian groups as well as those with roots in Trinidad and Guyana are used to conduct smaller-level but extensive cocaine and heroin businesses here, sources said.
"To many young people in the immigrant community who feel that Canadian society does not give them enough chance to succeed, joining gangsters is an exercise in building their self-esteem," said one source asking for anonymity.
"Why do you think Bindy Johal was a hero to many young Indo-Canadians?" he asked. "His legend had spread wide in the past few years among Indians not only here but also in Toronto and Montreal, New York and San Francisco."
"He stood up to his school principals, he beat up those who called him racial names -- and he was making a lot of money even though he was in his mid twenties. He drove fancy cars, he had girls falling all over him."
Johal, acquitted in a double murder case of alleged drug dealers, the Dosanjh brothers, four years ago, had then gone on to rapidly build a reputation as a ruthless drug dealer. His entanglement with the cocaine trade allegedly brought him into direct confrontation with the rival Lotus Gang who, according to underground sources, had put up a C$ 250,000 price tag on his head.
Several of Johal's friends who insisted on anonymity said he had grown stoical and prepared for his death, following relentless threats by rivals against him and his family members -- and the successful attempts on the lives of his closest friends and associates
"He went to the Palladium without his bodyguards," said a family friend who asked for anonymity.
Newspaper reports hint that Johal was punished for kidnapping and holding Lotus Gang leader Raymond Chan hostage at gun-point for over 50 hours two years ago. Lotus gang reportedly paid five kilograms of cocaine in exchange
But the kidnapping news reached the police who slapped Johal and associates with numerous charges. If he had been convicted Johal might have served at least 10 years in prison The case was to go to trial in a few months. The police suspect that many of the potential witnesses were intimidated by Johal's cronies, resulting in the delay of the trial.
Though Johal had announced shortly before his death he was turning away from the world of guns and drugs and was going to India to get married, to many of his admirers, who are still grieving for him and have vowed to have his death avenged, he is still a hero.
Among the gangs named in police reports is Big Circle Boys which allegedly deals with credit card fraud, cellular-telephone cloning, drug smuggling and is reportedly involved in a number of murders. According to a Canadian newspaper, one of the gang's credit-card fraud led to a loss of $ 16 million to the banks about two years ago.
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