2013 NEWS ROUNDUP: JANUARY TO JUNE – FEBRUARY

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RAMINDER RANDHAWA: CANADA’S OUTSTANDING PRINCIPAL

Raminder Randhawa, Principal of Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary School, was the only South Asian among the 51 selected as Canada’s Outstanding Principals for 2013 by The Learning Partnership and one of three chosen from B.C.

Randhawa, who came to Canada in 1970 from Punjab’s Nawanshahr, told Asian Journal that the credit goes to the whole team of educators not just the principal. “They work very hard to help children find a sense of life and learn and move forward,” he added.

After graduation, he went to UBC where he earned his Bachelor’s in International Relations. He was keen to work with Canada’s Foreign Affairs Department. But after many unsuccessful attempts, he started to work with children who had learning difficulties and disabilities.

Randhawa became a vice principal in 2000. When he became a principal three years later, his first assignment was to open the Traditional Program at the Cloverdale Traditional School. Then he was transferred to Cougar Creek in Newton where he was principal from 2006 to 2011. Since 2011, he’s been at Strawberry Hill Elementary School.

 

 

LANGLEY MAYOR FASSBENDER: SURREY-FLEETWOOD

During the months leading up to the May provincial election, Asian Journal came up with scoop after scoop. We were the first to report that “Premier Christy Clark has almost succeeded in convincing Langley Mayor Peter Fassbender to run as the B.C. Liberal candidate in the riding of Surrey-Fleetwood where the current MLA is the NDP’s Jagrup Brar.” A few days later, the Liberal Party officially announced that Fassbender will be their candidate for that riding.

But with Fassbender, a three-term mayor, as the Liberal candidate, we reported that “Brar is likely to face a stiff challenge.”

 

 

TONY SINGH: SURREY INTERNATIONAL TRADE AWARD

Tony Singh of Fruiticana received the Surrey Board of Trade’s 5th Annual International Trade Award for Large Business.

The citation read: “When Tony Singh visited the Lower Mainland 19 years ago, he was surprised to notice that there were not any markets selling superior quality Indian produce. He immediately began to explore opportunities for importing spices, produce, and other hard-to-find Indian food items from his homeland, and was able to open Fruticana – a produce store providing superior quality products to his clientele.

“Tony is proud to directly employ 150 Canadians in his stores, as well as another 25 indirectly through the shipping of his products. Singh has been running a wholesale business that not only supplies the Fruiticana stores but clients all over the world. Fruiticana’s mission is to provide Canada with the flavours and the culinary traditions of India. Today, Fruiticana not only supplies its own stores but stores in Alberta, Winnipeg, California, Singapore, and Hong Kong, among others.

“Fruiticana imports fruits, vegetables, groceries, lentils, over 300 spices, over 20 different types of dal, milk / dairy products, juices / pop. Fruiticana has established a Global Product Network that includes transportation-logistics, a distribution channel, working with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.”

 

 

AFRAJ GILL & AMRIT MAHARAJ: COMMUNITY ACHIEVERS

Brilliant student Afraj Gill of Surrey and outstanding volunteer Amrit Maharaj of Vancouver were among the 34 recipients of the B.C. Community Achievement Awards whose names were announced on Monday by Premier Christy Clark and Keith Mitchell, Chair of the British Columbia Achievement Foundation.

The citation for Gill read: “Now a student at Queen’s University School of Business, Afraj Gill is being honoured for his leadership and volunteer contributions during his high school years in Surrey. Afraj, a role model for youth volunteerism and engagement, was involved in all aspects of school life and contributed enthusiastically to non-profit organizations in his community.”

The citation for Maharaj said: “Since 2005, Amrit Maharaj has donated countless hours of service to the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice in Vancouver. He is a Family Support Volunteer helping patients and families and serves as a mentor and trainer in the volunteer program. Amrit also supports the UBC Meal Exchange Program, the Ripple Effect Society and Habitat for Humanity.”

 

 

FRASER HEALTH SOUTH ASIAN HEALTH INSTITUTE

Canada-India Network Society celebrated the launch of Fraser Health South Asian Health Institute (SAHI) in Surrey on February 15.

Fraser Health CEO Dr. Nigel Murray thanked the Canadian India Networking Society for organizing the celebration and recognizing the significance of the South East Asian Health Institute which was being officially launched.

He had high praise for Dr. Arun Garg whom he called “a brilliant scientist, an esteemed leader, creative thinker and great friend and collaborator to many of us.”

“The South Asian population is no different; in that we will develop specialized programs and services in order to meet the unique health challenges that many South Asians face. People of South Asian heritage have a higher propensity to develop chronic diseases, and they are four times more likely to experience coronary disease and diabetes due to a combination of hereditary and environmental factors.

“When diabetes is not well managed or properly treated, it can lead to serious problems such as heart and kidney disease, eye problems, nerve damage, avoidable complications and early death.

“Coronary disease is the most common cause of premature death among South Asians and research studies indicate that South Asians will suffer heart attacks at an earlier age and often without symptoms and warning.

“Fraser Health has the third largest South Asian population in Canada with over 182,000 South Asian people living in the area served by Fraser Health. So it makes sense that we pay attention to this statistics and work to provide health equity.”

Among those present were Senator Asha Seth, Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid, and Consul General Ravi Shankar Aisola.

 

 

JASWANT GILL CHARGED IN 2006 HOMICIDE OF WIFE 

Jaswant Singh Gill, 40, was arrested on February 16 and charged with the second degree murder of his wife, Gurpreet, 33, six years after she went missing.

Vancouver Police Sgt. Kevin Mclaren said on Monday: “It was a mystery that caused great sorrow to family members here and in India, and posed a major challenge for our investigators. Even though initially there were very few clues, our investigators never gave up. They believed they owed it to the family and the victim to stay on the case until it was solved.”

He added: “In 2006, the relatives of 33 year old Gurpreet Gill became very worried. They had not heard from her in some time and they were concerned. She was the bride of an arranged marriage and was living in the Vancouver area.

“They reported her missing to the Vancouver Police Department. As the missing person investigation proceeded, it became clear she had likely met with foul play.

“For years, investigators looked for the evidence that would link a suspect to the murder. Recently, they found what they needed.”

What they found was DNA evidence. They matched DNA from family members to the human remains that were found in Richmond in 2006.

 

 

VIMAL CHAND FOUND DEAD IN CAR

Police announced that a body found inside a car on February 20 near Surrey’s Hyland Elementary School at 66 Avenue and 140 Street was that of Vimal Chand, 29, who was reported missing on Sunday, February 17.

Chand had a criminal record including a conviction for assault with a weapon. His full name was Vimal Vikash Chand, according to the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) and a man with that name was convicted in 2007 for assault with a weapon. He was convicted in 2005 on one count of causing fear of injury to another person.

Some of the criminal proceedings are subject to publication ban, according to the Province newspaper.

“This investigation is in the very early stages and the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Chand are yet to be determined,” said IHIT Cpl. Bari Emam.

 

 

AMRIK VIRK: SURREY-TYNEHEAD

Back in December 2012 Asian Journal reported that “B.C. Liberals are bending over backwards to convince high-profile Langley RCMP Inspector Amrik Virk to run from the Surrey-Tynehead riding” and in February we reported that the announcement about Virk’s nomination was about take place – and it did.

It came as a welcome relief after the disastrous nomination of former MP Sukh Dhaliwal in Surrey-Panorama riding. Dhaliwal was forced to step down by the party after the Vancouver Sun revealed that he was facing tax evasion charges, something that he had kept hidden from the party.

Virk, who first joined the RCMP in 1987, was commissioned to the rank of Inspector in 2001, and has been active in youth and gang violence prevention throughout the Lower Mainland throughout his career.

Virk also spent six years on the Board of Directors of the Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation, and is the Vice Chairman of the Board at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

Virk was born in India and arrived in Williams Lake, B.C., at the young age of five years. After the completion of a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Economics and History at Simon Fraser University he joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1987. He has a black belt in karate and has lived in Surrey for the last 11 years with his wife Jatinder and their three daughters.

 

 

JUJHAR KHUN-KHUN CHARGED IN BACON MURDER

A day before police made the announcement, a source informed me that notorious gangster Jujhar Khun-Khun, 25, of Surrey had been picked up the police in the Jonathan Bacon murder case and in the morning, I emailed CBC Radio, News 1130 and CKNW just after 10 a.m.: “Dhak associate Jujhar Khun-Khun is believed to have been arrested in the Bacon murder case of Kelowna … announcement at 1 p.m. by cops.”

The other two charged with the first degree murder of Red Scorpion gangster Jonathan Bacon as well as four counts each of attempted murder were Michael Kerry Hunter Jones, 25, of Gibsons, and Jason Thomas McBride, 37, of North Vancouver.

The three men were arrested on Friday (February 22) last week as 100 police officers executed six search warrants in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Surrey, Kelowna and Toronto.

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia (CFSEU-BC) Chief Superintendent Dan Malo announced: “Khun-Khun was in the hospital at the time of his arrest where he was recovering from gunshot wounds because of an attempt on his life on January 15, just a few weeks ago.”

Meanwhile, there was speculation about the identity of a fourth gangster who is now dead but who was also allegedly involved in the case. Police say his name will come out during the court process and they will not compromise the integrity of the case.

One newspaper has named the person as Manjinder “Manny” Hairan, 29, who was shot dead on January 15 in Surrey. Khun-Khun was also shot in that incident.

Recounting the murder of Bacon, Malo said: “On August 14, 2011, at 2:41 in the afternoon, a group of unknown assailants opened fire at the occupants of a white Porsche Cayenne parked at the entrance to the Delta Grand Hotel and Resort.

“ …  Mr. Bacon was fatally wounded and his four associates were badly injured by gunfire. One of the young ladies Leah Hadden-Watts is now a paraplegic because of the injuries she suffered that day.

“Bacon, Amero and Riach were in Kelowna on that weekend as members of a recently formed criminal alliance commonly called ‘The Wolfpack,’ yet all were from distinct criminal groups. Amero was a member of the Hells Angels, Riach, a member of the Independent Soldiers, and Bacon of the ‘Bacon Brothers’ or Red Scorpions.”

 

 

AMRITPAL SARAN OF DELTA MURDERED

The badly burned body found in the 12100-block of Colebrook Road in Surrey on February 24 was identified as 29-year-old Amritpal Saran of Delta. Police said Saran was known to them but had no known gang association.

Saran had a long criminal record with convictions for assault on a peace officer, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking, and uttering threats. Also, he had many traffic violations.

The victim was found just a few blocks away from where the body of 26-year-old Jaskaran Singh Sandhu was discovered on January 28 in a grassy area on the side of the road in the 12300-block of Colebrook Road in south Surrey, a rural area north of Highway 99 on the Surrey / Delta border.

At the time, MacIntosh said: “Mr. Sandhu was known to police and the victim of a targeted attack.  Investigators continue to search for the motive behind his killing, including the possibility of being gang-related.”

In September 2011, Sandhu was shot at a Mr. Lube car service centre at 2773 Barnett Highway near Coquitlam Centre Mall.