Meninder Dhaliwal's Murder the Latest Chapter in Vancouver's Bloody Gang Wars
Meninder Dhaliwal was among the Vancouver Police Department's most wanted gangsters.
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The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) of the Canadian Police have arrested two individuals - 24-year-old Gursimran Sahota and 20-year-old Tanvir Khakh - for the murder of Meninder Dhaliwal, a Canadian gangster of Indian origin. Both Sahota and Khakh have been charged with first degree murder. They are from Surrey in British Columbia.
Dhaliwal and his acquaintance Satinder Gill were gunned down at a resort village, Whistler, in British Columbia on 24 July.
"This act was outrageous and shock to the visitors and community of Whistler," said Sergeant David Lee of IHIT in a statement released to the press.
The method of the attack was typical of gangland killings, with a vehicle used by the killers set on fire a short distance away. The same method was seen in the recent killing of Canada-based Sikh businessman Ripudaman Singh Malik. More on that incident here.
In 2021, the IHIT identified Dhaliwal as being part of a list of "individuals posing a significant risk to public safety" – a sort of 'most wanted list' of gangsters in Vancouver. His eldest brother, Barinder Dhaliwal, is also a part of that list, which has six names in all. The Dhaliwal brothers are both part of the Brothers' Keepers' (BK) gang.
Original gang members have 'Brothers Keeper' tattooed on their upper chest in stylised Roman script and 'Nirbhau' or fearless in Gurmukhi on their torso.
Satinder Gill, however, had no known gang background.
The middle Dhaliwal brother – Harpreet 'Harb' Dhaliwal – was killed in a similar gang attack in 2021.
The rise and eventual death of the two Dhaliwal brothers must be seen in the context of shifting loyalties in a competitive gang landscape of Canada's British Columbia province.
An important part of this larger context are the efforts of American Bikers' gang Hells' Angels to establish their hegemony over organised crime in the region and the grouping of smaller gangs for or against them.
Some gangs are also said to have been infiltrated by intelligence agencies of different countries having interests in Canada.
The Dhaliwal Brothers and Bacon Brothers of Abbotsford
Meninder Dhaliwal is said to have been born in 1993 to a middle class Punjabi family in British Columbia.
The Dhaliwal brothers are from Abbotsford in British Columbia and according to Vancouver Sun, their family owned a farm near Canada's border with the United States.
They are among many Punjabi immigrant families in the town and Punjabis account for close to 25 percent of Abbotsford's population.
In 2008 and 2009, Abbotsford had the highest homicide rate in Canada. This coincided with the rise of another trio of brothers of Abbotsford in the gang landscape of the area – Jonathan, Jarrod and Jamie Bacon – collectively known as the Bacon Brothers.
The Bacon brothers are accused of several homicides, drug trafficking, illegal use of firearms, and were key actors in the massive 2009 Vancouver Gang War which involved multiple gangs.
The Bacon brothers moved from Abbotsford to Surrey in 2007 as police restrictions were said to be more lax there but they enjoyed a cult like status among aspiring gangsters across the lower mainland region of British Columbia.
The Bacon brothers were initially attached to the United Nations' gang founded by Clayton Rouche, a white Canadian with a penchant for East Asian rituals and codes. However, the Bacons fell out with the UN and got attached to the Red Scorpions gang, which they almost took over.
Several youngsters began copying the Bacon brothers' trademark closely cropped hairstyle. Meninder Dhaliwal too had a similar hairstyle
The Dhaliwals began their foray into gang violence after they grew close to the Bacon Brothers. During his trial, Jarrod Bacon had identified Barinder Dhaliwal as the financer of a big cocaine deal running into millions of dollars. He had also made an appearance at Jonathan Bacon's funeral in 2011.
Change in Allegiances and a Series of Attacks
The Bacons came under increasing police pressure after the murder of a rival's wife in front of her four-year-old son in 2009. However, the Dhaliwals remained with them for a few years, but later fell out and joined hands with the Brothers' Keeper gang.
Formed by Gavinder Grewal, the Brothers' Keepers gang mainly comprised former Red Scorpions members but they began actively targeting remaining Red Scorpions in 2016-17.
According to a report in Vancouver Sun, Gavinder Grewal got the name from a dialogue by Wesley Snipes’ gangster character in the 1991 movie New Jack City.
However, Brothers' Keepers founder Gavinder Grewal was himself killed in 2017.
The Brothers' Keepers formed an alliance with the Hardside Chapter of the Hell's Angels due to the involvement of Suminder 'Allie' Grewal, one of the few non-whites to become a Hell's Angel. Suminder Grewal was killed in 2019.
The cycle of violence involving Brothers' Keepers continued and the Dhaliwal brothers faced a number of attacks as a result of it.
Harb Dhaliwal was reportedly injured in two incidents in 2017 and 2019 while Meninder Dhaliwal faced a gun attack in 2019. Harb Dhaliwal was killed in a gang attack on 18 April 2021 in Vancouver's Coal Harbour.
The attack was a dramatic one as Barinder was present on the scene and saw his brother being killed, while Meninder was also present a short distance away.
Reports say that Barinder was devastated and had to be physically controlled by the police.
A few associates of the Dhaliwals chased the killer until he was caught. The killer was identified as 52-year-old Francois Gauthier. He was convicted and is serving a life sentence.
In 2020, the police launched a full scale crackdown on the Brothers' Keepers' group, leading to several arrests.
The BK is placed in a slightly complicated manner regarding the Hells' Angels' efforts to establish their hegemony. On one hand, the BK has links to one chapter of the Hells' Angels, on the other hand, they are in conflict with some constituents of the Wolf Pack Alliance, that includes a sizable part of the Hells' Angels.
The BK are also in conflict with anti-Wolf Pack alliance gangs like the United Nations Gang, Dhak-Duhre group.
The Hells' Angels themselves have a complex structure as they allow some of their members to ally themselves with smaller gangs on the side, so long as the larger organisation is paid a cut of the revenue. In the 2009 Vancouver gang war, the Hell's Angels are known to have supplied weapons to both the UN and Red Scorpion group. However, later, the Hells' Angels became clearly aligned against the United Nations.
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Topics: Canada Indian Diaspora canadian sikhs
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