(This is from the print edition of The VOICE of July 17)
A recent sentence hearing in B.C. Supreme Court for Pashminder Boparai has revealed a plot to avenge the June 4, 2018 execution-style murder of 16-year-old Jaskarn Singh Jhutty (Jason) and 17-year-old Jaskaran Singh Bhangal (Jesse), both students of Surrey’s Frank Hurt Secondary School. Neither of them was known to police.
It also shows that even a casual friendship with people close to those involved in gangs can be a death sentence.
The sensational double homicide in June of 2018 shook up Surrey with the South Asian community holding a mammoth rally outside Surrey City Hall demanding action by all levels of government to bring an end the ongoing homicides. Family members of the two victims also attended the rally and addressed the community. One of the main organizers of the rally, well-known Punjabi journalist Gurpreet (Lucky) Singh Sahota said: “A community is in grieving, and where we must together seek solutions, we must also begin to heal together, and understand the challenges our kids face on a daily basis at school and outside.”
On June 4, 2018, just after 10:30 p.m., Surrey RCMP received a report of two bodies found in the area of 192 Street and 40 Avenue. When officers arrived, they found two unresponsive males lying on the roadside with gunshot wounds. The victims were declared dead at the scene and the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) took conduct of the investigation.
Earlier on June 4, at 9:46 p.m., Surrey RCMP were alerted to a burning vehicle in the area of 184 Street and 29A Avenue. At 11 p.m., Surrey RCMP received a call of a second burning vehicle in the area of 177 Street and 93 Avenue.
Jhutty and Bhangal had last been seen alive around 7 p.m. that day at Surrey’s Georges Vanier Elementary School at 6985 142 Street where they had been playing basketball.
BUT now a clearer picture is emerging of what apparently took place thanks to Vancouver Sun’s Kim Bolan who on Thursday reported about the sentence hearing for Boparai.
According to an agreed statement of facts read at last June’s sentencing hearing for Boparai, one of the teen victims was checked by police at the Trump Tower in Downtown Vancouver on May 26, 2018, just nine days before the double homicide. He was with Boparai and Moeen Khan of the Red Scorpion-Kang group.
(The teens happened to be friends/classmates of Khan’s brother).
Boparai and Khan were at the time under surveillance because of a multi-agency anti-gang investigation led by Vancouver Police and, as they plotted revenge against those whom they suspected had killed the teens — the suspects are believed to be connected to the Brothers Keepers gang – their conversations were recorded by police.
At the hearing, the prosecutor read: “On June 5, 2018, Mr. Khan — in an emotional phone conversation with (gang leader) Sameet Kang — talked about the murder…and how he felt responsible.”
Over the next couple of weeks, numerous conversations between Boparai, Khan and others were intercepted about the revenge conspiracy.
“Mr. Boparai was to assist in hiring others to carry out the assault, providing them food, a place to stay and payment in the amount of $10,900. In these intercepted calls, the target of the conspiracy was never identified,” the prosecutor read.
A week after the wiretap captured Boparai on June 5 talking about the retaliation, Mustapha Mohammed Ali and Noebin “Jeffrey” Malonga-Massamba arrived at Vancouver International Airport from Ottawa. Boparai’s associates drove the two men to an apartment on Yukon Crescent in Burnaby.
Ali and Malonga-Massamba were seen by police renting a car and meeting Boparai outside the Burnaby condo building on Yukon Crescent on June 16. Two days later, Boparai and Khan arrived at the condo building in another rental car. Boparai gave Ali a brown paper bag. The four men then got into their two rental cars and drove to Langley where one of the men changed the licence plates on the vehicle occupied by Ali and Malonga-Massamba.
In the 20000-block of 94B Avenue, police moved in to arrest the men. Ali and Malonga-Massamba ran but were caught a short distance away. Boparai and Khan were arrested inside their car.
A loaded handgun was found under the seat in the car that Ali was driving and a second loaded gun was found outside the open passenger door. Police also found a walkie-talkie in each of the cars, tuned into the same channel allowing communication between them.
The four suspects were released on June 19, 2018.
Police found $10,900 cash in a garbage bin in the Burnaby apartment. They also found a found a Post-it note in the kitchen of Boparai’s Quebec Street apartment in Vancouver authored by an unknown individual confirming a payment was made of $10,900, according to the prosecutor.
ARREST warrants were issued in February 2019 for the four.
(On February 29, 2019, The VOICE reported online: “Twenty-two-year-old Moeen Khan of Surrey, 30-year-old Pashminder Boparai of Abbotsford, 28-year-old Mustapha Ali of Ottawa, and 23-year-old Nobin Malonga-Massamba of Ottawa, have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Ali and Malonga-Massamba each face additional charges related to firearm offences. Ali and Malonga-Massamba are in custody and Khan and Boparai are currently wanted on Canada-wide warrants.” Vancouver Police said in a press release that the arrests and charges against the four men were “through Project Territory – a key element of Taskforce Tourniquet, which has proven to be one of Metro Vancouver’s most successful multi-agency gang crime investigations.”)
On March, 13, 2019, Boparai was arrested near Kelowna and has remained in custody since then.
Khan is believed to have fled the country.
Boparai pleaded guilty to conspiracy to assault an unknown person with a firearm.
Bolan reported that both Crown and the defence made a joint submission for an eight-year sentence minus four years’ credit for time Boparai served in pretrial custody. The judge accepted the joint submission.
Ali and Malonga-Massamba pleaded guilty to a firearms charge. They have applied to have their sentencing hearing held back east.