Canada: 5 persons arrested for extortion attempts, targeting Indo-Canadian businesses – Hindustan Times

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A spate of extortion attempts in the GTA, Alberta and British Columbia had taken place since the last quarter of 2023. Police said they have yet to confirm a link to India in these cases

Toronto: Even as five persons were arrested in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) on charges related to alleged extortion targeting Indo-Canadian businesses, police said they have yet to confirm a link to India in these cases.

Gagan Ajit Singh (pic) is among five persons arrested on extortion charges in Canada. (Credit: Peel Regional Police)

Speaking to the media in the town of Brampton on Wednesday, Superintendent Shelley Thompson, who is heading the Peel Regional Police’s 23-member Extortion Investigative Task Force (EITF) said, “We’re still trying to sift through stuff to see if there’s a connection to India. Right now, with the information that we have, that we are working with, there is not.”

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A spate of extortion attempts in the GTA, and also in Edmonton, the capital of Alberta and the Lower Mainland area of British Columbia, had taken place since the last quarter of 2023, and one unit, the Abbotsford Police, in an internal memo, had indicated there may be a link to outfits based in India, mentioning the Lawrence Bishnoi gang in particular.

However, such evidence doesn’t appear to have emerged as yet in the investigations conducted by PRP.

According to a release from PRP, the five persons arrested were Gagan Ajit Singh, resident of Brampton, who faces ten charges, Anmoldeep Singh, 23, of Mississauga, who faces five charges, Hashmeet Kaur, 25, from Brampton, who faces four charges, Iymanjot Kaur, 21, from Brampton, who faces four charges, and Arundeep Thind, 39, of no fixed address, who faces the charge of extortion.

The first four were charged on January 24. Thind was charged after an unnamed 32-year-old “allegedly received a phone call and threatening WhatsApp messages demanding large sums of money”, the release stated.

“Our task force acted swiftly & efficiently, with 5 arrested & over 20 total charges laid. We encourage anyone with information to contact our task force,” PRP chief Nishan Duraiappah posted on X.

At the press conference, he described these extortion attempts as “a significant issue” and added that the local business community was “fearful” because of them.

“We understand the impact these incidents have caused the victims and their families, and see how deeply these incidents are being felt throughout our community,” he said, adding, “We believe that there could be more residents and businesses who may have been contacted.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb.

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