Police arrest four for extortion and terrorizing Indian businesses in Canada

Four of the suspects include Gagan Ajit Singh, Anmoldeep Singh, Hashmeet Kaur, and Lymanjot Kaur, all of Brampton and Mississauga.

Police in Peel Region of Canada are have arrested four persons of Punjabi-origin and are investigating 29 separate cases of attempted extortion targeting South Asian business owners.

Four of the suspects include Gagan Ajit Singh, 23-year-old, Anmoldeep Singh, 23-year-old, Hashmeet Kaur, 25-year-old, and Lymanjot Kaur, 21-year-old, all of Brampton and Mississauga.

Brampton’s Mayor Patrick Brown told media that this rash of crime was “terrorizing” the community and arrests are “a big relief for our community.”

“Business owners that were terrified, expressing a complete level of desperation and dismay at describing what it’s like to have your family residence or business shot at or to be the victim of arson…This was terrorizing the south Asian community.” 

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Police investigators announced the probes as part of their newly-minted Extortion Investigative Task Force (EITF) at a news conference on Wednesday.

Police chief Nishan Duraiappah told reporters that suspects were using social media and messaging platforms such as Whatsapp to contact victims and make demands for money with the threats of violence towards them, their families or their business.

Police chief Duraiappah said:

“Anyone targeting this community will not be tolerated at all. We will continue to devote the necessary resources to keep this community safe and prevent this trend from continuing.”

The force — whose area of jurisdiction covers Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon — said they recently arrested and charged five people in alleged extortion cases and were investigating at least 29 others.

Task force lead Supt. Shelley Thompson told media that of the 29 cases under investigation, nine incidents have involved shootings at local businesses, with multiple bullets being fired.

Supt. Thompson said that South Asian business that were targeted include restaurants, bakeries, trucking and transport companies, independent used car dealerships and jewelry stores.

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Image: A firearm and cache of ammunition was allegedly seized by Peel Regional Police on Jan. 24, 2024 (Source: Peel police)

Police said 50 cellphones, 11 laptops, a large sum of cash, and a firearm with several rounds of ammunitions were seized from the arrested persons.

Peel police added that they are coordinating with police officials in India and have “open lines” of communication.

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