Canadian Police arrest five in connection with extortion of South Asian community businesses

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In a significant operation conducted by the Canadian law enforcement authorities, five individuals of Indian origin have been arrested on charges encompassing mischief to property, threats, and firearms-related offences. The Peel Regional Police Extortion Investigative Task Force (EITF), in collaboration with the Ontario Provincial Police, identified the accused as perpetrators behind an extortion racket targeting the South Asian business community within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

On January 24, 2024, a pivotal moment in the investigation came when a search warrant was executed at a residence in the City of Brampton, leading to the booking of four key individuals. Among them, 23-year-old Gagan Ajit Singh from Brampton and 23-year-old Anmoldeep Singh from Mississauga face severe charges, including extortion and various firearms offences. Additionally, 25-year-old Hashmeet Kaur and 21-year-old Iymanjot Kaur, both from Brampton, along with 39-year-old Arundeep Thind, who is currently without a fixed address, have been implicated in this extortion scheme.

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Superintendent Shelley Thompson, overseeing the EITF, highlighted the diverse nature of the targeted businesses, which ranged from restaurants and bakeries to used car dealerships and trucking companies, all owned by individuals of South Asian descent. The extortionists reportedly demanded money under the threat of violence, contacting business owners through phone calls, social media platforms, and video calling services like WhatsApp, with demands made in both Canadian dollars and Indian rupees.

Crackdown on Extortion Racket Targeting South Asian Businesses in Greater Toronto Area

Crackdown on Extortion Racket Targeting South Asian Businesses in Greater Toronto Area

The operation has unveiled a troubling pattern of extortion attempts not only within the GTA but also in other Canadian cities such as Edmonton and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, and even stretching into the United States. While no physical injuries have been reported, the psychological impact and the damage to property, including nine instances of gunfire directed at unoccupied businesses, underscore the severity of this criminal activity.

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The establishment of the Peel Regional Police Extortion Investigative Task Force in response to the surge in reports from South Asian business owners signifies a determined effort by the authorities to address and curb the menace of extortion within the community. This case serves as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by immigrant business owners and the importance of community and law enforcement collaboration in ensuring the safety and security of all citizens.

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The arrest of five individuals linked to extortion activities targeting South Asian businesses in the Greater Toronto Area marks a critical step forward in the fight against organized crime affecting immigrant communities. This operation not only showcases the effective collaboration between different police units but also highlights the importance of vigilance and reporting among business owners. As investigations continue and the legal process unfolds, it will be essential to understand the broader implications of such crimes on the immigrant business community and the measures needed to protect vulnerable sectors from similar threats in the future.

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