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Thursday, 19 January 2012

Singh Duhre, 36 — killed in a hail of bullets at a downtown restaurant Tuesday — was a notorious gangster marked for death since 2005.

19:40 | ,


Singh Duhre, 36 — killed in a hail of bullets at a downtown restaurant Tuesday — was a notorious gangster marked for death since 2005. Sandip, along with his brothers Balraj, 38, and Paul, 35, headed the powerful Duhre Group, whose 50 to 100 “street soldiers” have controlled much of the drug trade in the Fraser Valley since the 2010 arrests of rival leaders from the United Nations and Red Scorpions. The shooting comes less than a week after well known Vancouver gangster Ranjit Singh Cheema was released from a U.S. prison. He had been sentenced in California to five years in prison for his role in a major drug-smuggling operation. Cheema was a one-time associate of notorious gangster Bindy Johal before Johal was gunned down in December 1998. The Duhres are also suspected of involvement in the Kelowna casino shooting that killed Abbotsford’s Jonathan Bacon and wounded full-patch Hells Angel Larry Amero and James Riach of the Independent Soldiers gang. A young woman whose uncle is the president of the Haney Hells Angel chapter was shot in the neck and paralyzed that day. “We are aware of the connections here and they are part of the investigations,” a police source told The Province Wednesday. Vancouver police say they are still investigating the city’s first homicide of 2012 and have not yet confirmed the identity of the victim. Constable Lindsey Houghton said police were called to the restaurant in the north tower of the Sheraton Wall Centre on Burrard Street shortly after 8:45 p.m. Tuesday. Multiple shots were fired in the restaurant, which was busy with patrons, Houghton said. Police have no information on suspects and were interviewing about a dozen witnesses as of 11 p.m. Tuesday, Houghton said, “These are incidents that put the innocent public at risk for their lives,” Houghton said of the brazen shooting, which left a bullet hole and splattered blood on a second-story window of the restaurant. In September 2011, the Gang Task Force issued a public warning regarding the dangerous Dhak gang and their allies, the Duhres — who were trying to spread across Metro Vancouver after reportedly extending their empire to Smithers in northern B.C. in 2010. “We have information that leads us to believe that anybody associated with the Duhre or Dhak group is subject to retaliation or to violence from other gangs they’re in conflict with,” said Supt. Tom McCluskie at the time. The Duhre brothers grew up in North Vancouver and were one-time associates of the late Bindy Johal. Best-selling author of Indo-Canadian crime novels Ranj Dhaliwal knew of Sandip Duhre in his younger years and said Sandip “understood the level of violence that comes along with the underworld.” “From what I saw, and a side most will never know about Sandip from his youth, was that he liked to have fun — a joker that liked to pull pranks. He was intelligent ... his whole family is,” said Dhaliwal. In 1997, police swooped in on the Duhres’ Surrey home and arrested all three brothers as well as Johal. The Duhre group is in alliance with some United Nations members as well as the Dhak gang, whose kingpin, Gurmit Singh Dhak, 32, was shot dead at Metrotown shopping centre on October 16, 2010. The Dhaks are now led by 27-year-old Sukh Dhak. Sandip survived multiple attempts on his life before his murder Tuesday. In May 2005, an attempted hit on Sandip at a Surrey convenience store took the life of his Egyptian-born friend, Dean Mohamed Elshamy. Sandip would escape another targeted hit three months later in August of 2005 after the black BMW he and his brother Balraj were riding in was shot at in East Vancouver. The bullets, reportedly from an automatic firearm, bounced off the passenger window of the bulletproof sedan. Balraj has also been in the crosshairs of rival gang members, surviving a bullet wound to the face in a 2003 Surrey shooting, as well as escaping wounded from a targeted shooting in an East Vancouver Vietnamese restaurant in 2005 — only one month after the BMW he and Sandip were riding in was riddled with bullets. In 2009, Sandip was the target of a foiled murder-for-hire plot meant to have taken place at his Surrey home. Police learned of the plot after the hit man turned into an informant and implicated middleman Aleksander Radjenovic — who supplied the firearms and stash-house for three targeted hits that were never carried out. It was reported that Sandip had been living outside of B.C. in 2009 after the attempted hits, but moved back into Surrey and continued to frequent the Abbotsford area. Sandip had largely avoided the law, being previously convicted of possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose, uttering threats, and obstructing a police officer. His most recent run-in with police was in Surrey in March 2011 when he was charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and fleeing from a police officer. Dhaliwal said Sandip’s death will likely be avenged. “When an old-school guy like Sandip gets killed there is no question that there will be retaliation. He knew a lot of people throughout the years” said Dhaliwal.

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