SOUTH Asians’ confidence in the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) hardly exists. Something needs to change at IHIT before matters get worse.
On Monday, well-known Bhangra promoter Ranjeev Sangha, 41, of Surrey became the 17th South Asian to be murdered under IHIT’s jurisdiction in 2018 (Vancouver is not under IHIT) – and we still have a month to go! Not a single one of these homicides – or of the raft of others that have occurred over just the past few years involving South Asian victims – has been solved. [See list of 17 victims below]
Yes, when petty drug dealers dreaming of being big criminal bosses get shot, no one really cares (except, of course, their family members and some close friends). But when the victims are not known to police and were not believed to be involved in gangs or drugs, that does scare people. They want to know WHY the person was killed.
Whenever a South Asian is killed, because of racism everybody assumes it must be gangs and drugs. If it is, let them be exposed. If it isn’t, they and their families deserve better.
Take, for example, the murders of prominent individuals Surinderpal Hehar and Amarjit Singh Sandhu, both of whom were deeply involved in the community. Their homicides in 2015 and 2016, respectively, sent shock waves through the South Asian community.
(The VOICE has been highlighting these cases time and again.)
One murder took place around midnight on a road in Surrey, while the other occurred in broad daylight at a busy parking lot in Richmond.
Hehar, 45, a longshoreman who was a well-known field hockey promoter, was shot dead on November 21, 2015, at 152nd Street and 66th Avenue in Surrey just after midnight as he was headed for work with a colleague, who also sustained gunshot wounds but survived.
About six months later, on June 4, 2016, developer Amarjit Singh Sandhu was shot in the Tim Horton’s parking lot in the 11300-block of Steveston Highway in Richmond. The killer was a non-white male in his early to mid-20s who escaped.
While there was not much information about the Hehar murder because it took place at night with evidently no one around, there was a raft of details in the Sandhu case.
As IHIT Staff-Sgt. Jennifer Pound put it at the time, the murder took place “in such a bold and brazen manner in a very public setting.”
Sandhu was a former member of the International Sikh Youth Federation and a developer who was very actively involved in Vancouver’s Ross Street Gurdwara (Khalsa Diwan Society) politics.
Richmond News reported that a witness told them that Sandhu was killed while standing next to his black pick-up truck by a man with “an average build, light brown skin and some facial hair, wearing a hoodie and sunglasses.” The witness said that the suspect used a gun with a silencer and that he heard “at least six shots that sounded like a paintball gun.”
The witness told the Richmond News that Sandhu was with a friend just before the shooting. He added that the friend was spotted talking to police shortly afterwards.
IHIT described the killer as a male in his early to mid-20s, approximately 6 feet tall, slim / slender build, wearing a grey or light grey coloured hoodie or coat, medium to dark coloured pants and possibly wearing a baseball cap. He was non-white.
A couple of weeks after the murder, IHIT released photos of what was believed to be the getaway vehicle and asked for the public’s assistance in identifying it. The vehicle was described as gold / silver in colour and appeared to be a Chevrolet Trail Blazer.
Will these or the dozens of other South Asian homicides ever be solved?
People doubt that very much.
Let’s face it, no one is really safe anymore in the Lower Mainland!
The 17 South Asians killed so far in 2018
(The VOICE is updating and highlighting this list each time a South Asian is murdered so that it keeps the police forces on their toes and it keeps our community facing the reality that is ripping it apart)
Sachdeep Dhoot, 18, of Surrey: Last seen on January 9, body found in Vancouver on January 18. Vancouver Police said it appeared to be a targeted murder.
* January 19:
Lovepreet Singh Dhaliwal (Jason), 24, of Abbotsford. Police said he was trying to leave a criminal lifestyle.
* January 27:
Kalwinder Thind, 23, of Richmond, an innocent victim who died outside a downtown Vancouver nightclub on Granville Street while trying to break up a fight.
* February 15:
Kaminder Rai, 32, of Surrey, a realtor who was killed in Vancouver.
* March 9:
Pardip Brar, 23, of Delta, who was killed in Surrey. He was known to police.
* April 26:
Amin Vinepal, 24, of Delta, whose body was found in Surrey. He was known to police.
* June 4:
(Two victims) Jaskarn Singh Jhutty (Jason), 16, and Jaskaran Singh Bhangal (Jesse), 17, both of Surrey. The Frank Hurt Secondary School students’ bodies with gunshot wounds were found on a roadside.
Sukhpreet Grewal, 32, of Abbotsford, whose body was found inside a home on July 20. He was known to police.
* August 4:
Gagandeep Singh Dhaliwal, 19, of Abbotsford. He was known to police.
* August 19:
Lakhwinder Singh Bal, 48, of Surrey. He was known to police.
* October 2:
Varinderpal Singh Gill, 19, was shot dead in Mission. Abbotsford Police had issued a public warning about him on August 15.
* October 11:
Sumeet Randhawa, 30, of Surrey, who was known to police, was shot dead.
* October 18:
Mandeep Singh Grewal, who was not known to police, was shot dead in Abbotsford. He was the brother of gangster Gavinder Grewal who was killed in his North Vancouver apartment on December 23, 2017. His other brother, Manvir Grewal, is known to police.
* November 9:
A 22-year-old man was shot dead. He was reportedly not known to police. Although police have not released his name, community members have identified him as Harvie Thind.
* November 12:
Jagvir Malhi, 19, who used to be a star basketball player in school, shot dead in Abbotsford. Police later said that his death was not involved in gangs or criminal activities, but was associated to those involved in the Lower Mainland Gang Conflict.
* November 26:
Ranjeev Sangha, 41, of Surrey was shot dead outside his home. The well-known Bhangra promoter was not involved in the Lower Mainland Gang Conflict and was not known to police, IHIT said.