BY RATTAN MALL
NOW members of the two groups of young South Asian males that have been clashing in Vancouver’s South Slope for a long time are using their girlfriends to drive them around.
Vancouver police sources told The VOICE this week that this is because the rivals know the cars that each member usually drives.
An officer noted: “People’s daughters are just as much involved, driving these guys around … using their parents’ cars. … The families have no idea that their daughters are driving these guys around.”
When police sense that the situation is getting serious, they warn the girlfriends that they may end up getting hurt. But otherwise, it’s the same old, same old.
The simmering tensions between the two groups erupted into violence multiple times over the past month once again with more violence and more property damage. Police have seized bear spray, brass knuckles, batons, and baseball bats – but thankfully, no guns.
“Basically the parents are still frustrated and unable to control their children – young adults living at home, using their parents’ cars. … Cooperation with police is minimal because nobody wants to talk to them about their kids as they don’t want to be looked at in a negative way in the community or face retaliation from the other side,” said an exasperated police officer.
Most parents say they do not know what to with their son or daughter. But they want to keep it all hush-hush because they are very scared of their neighbours, coworkers, gurdwaras or members of the community knowing that their kids are involved in this.
“And when their kids are hurt then they basically want police to keep quiet,” said an officer.
THE VOICE was the first to report about the conflict last February in an article titled “Is South Slope of Vancouver headed back to notorious days of Bindy Johal versus Dosanjh brothers type of rivalry?”
Then last August in our story “Vancouver’s South Slope is out of control as two South Asian groups of youths go at each other once again,” we had revealed that Jaskaran Singh Heer, 19, who had been charged with possession of a restricted weapon, unauthorized possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle, and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose earlier that month by Vancouver Police is alleged to be one of the key figures in the ongoing gang conflict between two South Asian groups of youths.
Heer was one of four male occupants of a car that police officers searched at the Esso gas station at Kingsway and Victoria Drive that month and located bear spray and a bag containing a .44 calibre revolver, a box of ammunition and gloves.
The Vancouver Police Gang Crime and Major Crime Units said they had been investigating a number of shootings, assaults, arsons and other acts of vandalism, all believed to be related and linked to the two opposing groups.
Police sources said that basically it’s a conflict between two groups of South Asian youths, from four different families. There are two main players and each of them has a special friend.
“[In August], multiple shots were fired at East 22nd and Slocan Street at the house of one of the alleged chief players. Fortunately, no one was injured.
Police sources also told us back then: “Parents aren’t involved – it’s the kids. These are the new kids who are following in the steps of the Sanghera group. Violence is happening … shootings, assaults, arsons: a garage that was burned in the 400 East block of 63rd Avenue.” A friend of one of the chief players reportedly lives in that house.
The sources said that it all started “over petty stuff just like Johal and Dosanjh over high school things – a girl was involved and then as they got older, they have continued to hate each other and now its escalated to murder because some of them have gotten into criminal activities like drugs and now they answering to higher ups in the South Slope and that’s causing this violence to pick up.” These youths have been “robbing stores, stealing cars, selling drugs, cell phone stuff.”
They said: “This conflict started over the last few years and it just progressed. This conflict also involves the murder of that kid Akalirai. [January 23 death of Manraj Akalirai, 19, of Vancouver, was brutally slain on January 23, 2013. He had just graduated from Gladstone High School and was attending Langara College.] … They are the same groups that are involved … because that murder happened on the front steps of the house of [one of the chief players in the ongoing conflict].”
Then in September, Vancouver Police announced that they were continuing to investigate a series of targeted arsons in the city’s South Slope neighbourhood caused by suspects throwing Molotov cocktails.
With more police attention at the time, the two groups cooled down.
But now, it’s back to the usual rivalry.