GANGSTERS of Tejinder Singh Malli’s crime group will now be looking around to see which gang to join now that their leader is dead.
Sgt. Lindsey Houghton of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit – BC told me this week in response to my question about the future of Malli’s crime group members: “There weren’t that many of them and so what we anticipate, like it’s happened in the past, is that they will go and look for other organized crime groups or gangs or gang leaders to affiliate themselves with and they will move on.”
Houghton was one of many police officers around Delta’s Riverside Funeral Home on Monday at Malli’s funeral and he told me: “The gang units and gang police officers from different police detachments or jurisdictions always go to gang-related funerals. That’s no surprise and the people who are going to those funerals expect us there. A part of us being there is to not only preserve the peace and make sure that people who are coming to pay their respects do so in a peaceful way, but it is also to remind those people who are going of the seriousness of what’s happened and it gives us an opportunity to perhaps do a little bit of education and intervention if necessary.”
And to highlight that, Houghton went there in a special vehicle that has anti-gang messages all over it. He said: “For some people if they choose to look at the messages, they could do so.” Indeed, members of Unifor, the truckers’ union, who were right next door to the funeral home, “came up and had a look at the car and all the messages and they thought it was a great idea because we need to be creative in how we engage our communities and engage our youth and steer them away from gangs,” he added.
I asked Houghton if, in his interaction with the gang members on Monday, he found them in a state of shock or if they were just normal about it.
He said: “The people who are involved in this lifestyle, they know all too well what’s likely going to happen to them. And in the case of Tejinder Malli, he had been told many, many times over the last decade or more that if he continued doing what he was doing, that he was likely going to die in a very violent way, and even though he knew that, he kept doing what he did.
He added: “You know, Tejinder Malli is an excellent example of yet another gang member that despite repeated attempts and efforts by the police and by community to get him out and to get him to take a different path, he died before he got to 30 years old. The average age of gang members who die is less than 30 years old. That is really, really young. It is crazy and there is no need for it. This is totally preventable. It’s their insatiable appetite for money in a very, very quick way – that very high risk lifestyle that puts them and it puts all of us in great danger.”
AS I reported in last week’s VOICE, Malli, 29, of Richmond, who died March 11 after having been shot a day earlier in downtown Vancouver’s Coal Harbour neighborhood, had been involved at a very high level in the ongoing Lower Mainland gang conflict for at least a decade and operated his own crime group.
Houghton told me that over the years his allegiances and his associations changed a lot. He had conflicts with the UN gang and some of the people who were associated with that gang. He was also involved in Vancouver’s South Slope gang conflict and had a longstanding association to the Red Scorpions as well as the Buttar crime group.