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IN OUR VIEW: Too many don’t take gangsters seriously

Dangerous gangsters, killers freely mingle with public, sell merchandise
The Hells Angels clubhouse in Langley has been the gathering place for the White Rock chapter of the outlaw biker gang for years. (Langley Advance Times staff)

Amarpreet “Chucky” Samra became the latest Lower Mainland gangster to die in a hail of gunfire last weekend, killed outside a wedding in Vancouver.

Samra, reportedly a UN Gang member, has been convicted of kidnapping, had his Porche seized after it was used when an Earl’s restaurant was shot up, and last year, was among the gangsters named in a public warning from B.C.’s anti-gang task force.

The warning was not subtle or ambiguous. Samra and the others on the list were targets of violence by their enemies. Anyone near them was in real, physical danger, police said.

That didn’t stop the organizers of the wedding from putting Samra on the guest list.

When the bullets began flying, people inside the wedding hall scrambled for cover. Presumably, a significant number of the guests had no idea they were partying with a convicted criminal who was being targeted in a lethal gang war.

There are a lot of things that make investigating gang crime in B.C. difficult. When a business is all about selling illicit drugs, kidnapping, or violent extortion, it’s hard to find anyone who is willing to testify.

But it isn’t just fear. One of the most frustrating aspect of gang crime in B.C. is the fact that huge numbers of people just don’t take gangsterism seriously.

A man who’s kidnapped others, been involved in gun incidents, who is the target of violence? Why not invite him to a wedding!

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This applies to the UN Gang, the Red Scorpions, the Brothers Keepers, and the other groups, large or small, that have come and gone over the last 15 years in the Lower Mainland.

There are always individuals and businesses welcoming their company, and their money.

The gang that has ingratiated themselves the most successfully are the Hells Angels, which recently lost three of their B.C. clubhouses. However, there are plenty of clubhouses left in this province, including in Langley and Maple Ridge.

The gang – connected to, among other incidents, the still-unsolved murder and dismemberment of Shaun Clary in Langley in 2016, not to mention the violent deaths of several of their own members – has a sizable fanbase, folks who will happily defend them on social media and snap up their branded merchandise.

The courts are the number-one way of fighting organized crime.

But official authorities are only as effective as the culture in which they exist.

As long as our culture has a large number of people who are willing to coddle murderers and gangsters, we’ll never be rid of them.