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Canada Indo-Canadian Gangsters Shatter 'model Minority' Stereotype

Vikram singh

Feb 24, 2005
In what is perhaps the greatest refutation to the notion of East Indian immigrants forming a 'model minority' in North America, the city of Vancouver in British Columbia has been a hotbed of gang activity, drug-dealing and violence for a group of young Indian men, the sons of immigrants from the Subcontinent.

Gangsterism among Indians in British Columbia has apparently lessened considerably in recent years due to intense police interventions; but for much of the 1990s and early 2000s, the streets of Vancouver were littered with dozens of young Indo-Canadians who were the victims of an internecine war between rival drug-dealers and criminals.
However, unlike the nature of gangsters in other Canadian and U.S cities, the Indians of Vancouver were largely from middle-class homes of means, with hard-working, well-educated parents. Their descent into a life of criminality and violence would seem to challenge and deny every notion held about Asian immigrants as being peaceful and law-abiding.

Something similar also occurred in northern California – especially in Alameda and Santa Clara counties -- where young 20-something-year-old Indian men formed gangs, dealt drugs and often resorted to extreme violence. Again, most of these little 'mobsters' came from comfortable, traditional middle-class homes.
The vast majority of the Indo-Canadian gangsters (as well as their northern California counterparts) were of Punjabi Sikh descent -- a people who have a long history in the Pacific Northwest stretching back to the late 1800s (long before the flood of Indian immigrants arrived in North America in the 1960s and 1970s).
Dr. Robert Gordon, director of the school of criminology at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, said the Indian gangs were primarily involved in the trafficking and distribution of drugs, principally a highly potent form of marijuana called “B.C. Bud,” which was sold at a premium in both the U.S. and other parts of Canada.
Given the heavy presence of Punjabi-Canadians in the commercial trucking industry, the transportation of illegal drugs was perhaps a natural extension of their business operations.
The marijuana was often exchanged for cash, weapons or other drugs, particularly cocaine.
“It is a hugely profitable business,” said Gordon. “And it involves cross-border smuggling as well as relationships with other criminal gangs in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.”
At one point, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police ranked the Indo-Canadian gangs as the third most powerful criminal organization in the province, just behind the bikers and other Asian groups.
Competition for drug profits often led to disputes which frequently led to much bloodshed in which Indo-Canadians killed other Indo-Canadians in vicious turf wars.
Gordon points out that Indo-Canadians, by and large, -- and Punjabi Sikhs in particular -- are a highly affluent and materially successful ethnic group and represent a very strong economic and political force in British Columbia.
“These are not impoverished people seeking a way out of poverty and despair,” he said.
“In this sense, they are quite different from the types of gangs one sees in the U.S.”
The older generation of Indo-Canadians have been highly reticent to openly discuss, much less acknowledge, the criminal behavior of their sons – many of whom are now in jail or maimed for life or dead.
While the British Columbia experience of Asian immigrants may be something of an outlier, it is worthwhile to remember that the 'model minority' theorem has many flaws indeed.



1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Vikram Singh ji

This is interesting. One category of drug smugglers bringing contraband from Mexico to the US through San Diego, CA is also like this. The sons and daughters of affluent Mexicans. They set up residence in condos in the US and drive back and forth in expensive cars. They are not the easiest ones to apprehend because they seem so well turned out.

Vikram singh

Feb 24, 2005
It is a sad story,these people want to get rich overnight,it is a greed,they can't be a sikhs,just wearing Turban and beard,dosn't make you sikhs
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