Mayors of Brampton and Surrey Call for Action Against Extortion Attempts Targeting Indo-Canadian Businesses
The mayors of Brampton and Surrey have jointly written to Canada’s Public Safety Minister, urging the government to take action against a rising tide of extortion attempts targeting businesses owned by members of the Indo-Canadian community. In their letter, mayors Patrick Brown and Brenda Locke expressed their deep concern over the increasing number of “extortion attempts and violent acts, including shootings.” They called on the minister to prioritize the issue and work with local, provincial, and federal authorities to develop a comprehensive strategy to address these threats.
The extortion attempts have become a widespread problem, affecting not only Brampton and Surrey but also other parts of Canada. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and local police departments, including Peel Regional Police (PRP), have acknowledged the seriousness of the situation. The threats mainly target members of the South Asian business community.
Recent reports suggest that Indian gangs, particularly those associated with Lawrence Bishnoi, may be behind these extortion attempts. In response, law enforcement agencies have launched investigations and made several arrests. So far, there have been 16 reported cases in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), 35 in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia, and 18 in Edmonton, Alberta, where arson attempts have also been linked to extortion.
To address this alarming situation, a community forum was held in Surrey on January 6. The forum aimed to discuss concerns about drive-by shootings and extortion calls. The president of the Lakshmi Narayan Mandir, Satish Kumar, organized the event following a bullet attack on his son’s residence in late December.
Peel Regional Police has established an Extortion Investigative Task Force and set up a hotline for reporting threats. They are currently investigating 16 incidents in the GTA. Edmonton Police Service has also reported 18 ongoing investigations and several arrests related to shootings and arson incidents connected to the extortion series.
Mayor Brown emphasized the need for federal intervention, as the gang-related activity has an international dimension. He stated, “We can’t tolerate our residents being terrorized.” Notably, Goldy Brar, believed to be associated with the Bishnoi gang, is based in Brampton and has been linked to the killing of Punjabi entertainer-turned-politician Sidhu Moose Wala. The Indian government has declared Brar a terrorist, alleging his involvement with pro-Khalistan groups.
The mayors’ joint letter highlights the severity and widespread nature of these threats. It is crucial for the government to take swift action to protect the Indo-Canadian business community and ensure the safety and security of all residents.