gain in strength and organization in Vancouver
Stepping up the ranks
CRIME I Indo-Canadian gangs gain in strength and
organization even as the community unites against
Vancouver, October 1, 2005
Young Indo-Canadian gangsters are becoming increasingly
sophisticated, and adopting names and logos like the
infamous outlaw motorcycle clubs, police say.
A year ago police felt that Indo-Canadian gangs,
despite dozens of murders, were less organized than
traditional crime groups. But today there is a level
of sophistication exhibited by these rival groups
as they tussle over turf in B.C.'s lucrative drug
The RCMP's annual report on organized crime this
year ranks the Indo-Canadian groups third after outlaw
bikers and Asians in terms of their strength and organization
in B.C.'s hierarchy of criminal organizations.
And the killing of gang members has continued, with
10 murders since last fall of Indo-Canadians or their
associates linked to gangs.
The latest victim, Hardev Singh Sidhu, 27, was found
slumped in his car at 136th Street and Grosvenor Road
in Surrey early Friday morning.
Dozens of other drive-by shootings have been investigated
by police in Abbotsford, Surrey, Vancouver and elsewhere,
including a second Surrey shooting early Friday outside
The most disturbing trend, say police, is the increased
organization of some Indo-Canadian gangsters, such
as a Vancouver-based group calling itself the Independent
Soldiers, and battling rival groups involved in drug
On Sept. 10, Vancouver police were called to the
downtown nightclub Tonic where members of the Independent
Soldiers and the Abbotsford-based UN gang attacked
each other with bar stools and broken bottles.
Two men were taken to hospital with injuries, but
did not cooperate with police. No charges were laid.
Independent Soldiers' kingpin Sukhvinder Singh (Bicky)
Dosanjh was killed in a car accident at Marine and
Main Street two weeks ago, leaving a void in the evolving
organization with links going back to notorious cocaine
dealer Bindy Johal.
Dosanjh, a graduate of John Oliver secondary, is
the brother of Gerpal Singh (Paul) Dosanjh, who was
gunned down in March 2004 at the Gourmet Castle Restaurant
in the 2800-block of East Hastings and who was also
involved in the drug trade.
Paul Dosanjh had survived being shot in the head
in August 2003.
The Dosanjh brothers are first cousins of Ron and
Jimmy Dosanjh, among the original group of Indo-Canadian
gangsters who were taken out in separate hits in 1994
and 1995. The high-profile murders were believed to
have been arranged by Bindy Johal, their former associate-turned-rival
in the cocaine trafficking world.
Johal was then murdered on the dance floor of a Vancouver
nightclub in December 1998 in a targeted hit arranged
by his former associate Bal Buttar. Buttar remains
a blind quadriplegic after an attempt on his life
in August 2001 by members of his own crew.
Vancouver police staked out Bicky Dosanjh's funeral
last Saturday at Hamilton Harron Mortuary on Fraser
Street where dozens of young men with gang links came
to pay their respects to the dead gangster and former
high school basketball star.
Vancouver police Insp. Kash Heed said the trend to
more organized Indo-Canadian crime groups is disturbing.
"You are starting to see them identifying themselves
in a similar way to gangs in the United States,"
Heed said. "Now you have Indo-Canadian gang clothing
with identifiable logos."
But police and Indo-Canadian community groups are
also evolving in their response to the Indo-Canadian
violence. Ten months ago, the B.C. government committed
tens of millions of dollars to the new B.C. Integrated
Gang Task Force, which is targeting the violence among
young Indo-Canadian gangsters that has led to dozens
of murders in the last decade.
Delta Supt. John Robin is the officer in charge of
the task force, which has just reached its full staffing
complement of 60.
"We've had unbelievable cooperation from all
the departments and agencies to put this together,"
Robin said in an interview. "Everyone's aware
that this is a long-term commitment."
Robin said the task force is putting its effort into
targeting violent individuals in groups who are currently
"What our purpose is is to target those individuals
who are extremely violent," he said, adding that
some on the list may be suspects in unsolved murders.
"It takes probably more resources than one single
department or detachment could put together."
Robin said the Indo-Canadian gangsters do not follow
the model of true organized criminals "and in
some ways that makes them more dangerous."
The new task force is gathering and coordinating
intelligence on the Indo-Canadian gangs better than
before, Robin said.
"That is one of the things we are really working
hard on," he said.
But they are also involved in major criminal investigations.
"We are just scratching the surface. We are
in here for the long term and none of us expect to
turn this around overnight."
There have been several key arrests both in B.C.
and Washington state related to Indo-Canadian organized
Last April and May, several alleged Indo-Canadian
gangsters were arrested in two separate kidnapping
and unlawful confinement cases and are now facing
a series of charges.
And in the U.S., an alleged ecstasy dealer and would-be
politician named Ravinder Kaur Shergill was arrested
after the Drug Enforcement Agency taped her in an
undercover sting operation.
One of the most high-profile arrests was of Vancouver
lawyer Kuldip Singh Chaggar, who was convicted in
Seattle last April of tampering with a witness in
a drug case involving alleged Indo-Canadian crime
figures who were caught in a cross-border trafficking
Chaggar is now serving a year in jail, although he
is appealing his conviction.
RCMP Insp. Paul Nadeau, head of the regional drug
section, said the Indo-Canadians are primarily specializing
in the transport of marijuana, with so many in the
community involved in the commercial trucking industry.
He said the Indo-Canadians are contracting to other
crime groups to deliver their product.
Nadeau said that the use of commercial trucks to
transport pot to the U.S. is up about 400 per cent
over the last three years