It’s been six months since the last killing in Calgary’s gang war — time will tell whether the release of veteran FOB member Roland Chin changes that.
Chin, 25, walked out of Bowden Institution on Monday thanks to statutory release provisions that entitle offenders to serve the final one-third of their sentence in the community, under supervision. He had been in prison since 2007, when a judge handed him a 32-month sentence for drugs and weapons offences. The previous year, police found Roland and his younger brother, Roger, in a northwest Calgary hotel room with crack cocaine, a loaded handgun and cash.
In the summer of 2008, while Roland was still in prison, someone shot and killed Roger, 23, as he drove down Centre Street North. Now that Roland is out of prison, one police source has already remarked privately to me that “he doesn’t have much time left.”
The break in the violence hasn’t come because the gang members have stopped trying to kill each other: at least twice since the last homicide, police have intercepted members of both gangs driving around the city with loaded guns and body armour.
As a veteran of the conflict between FOB and the FOB Killers, Chin has been a target before — and he undoubtedly remains one. It’s safe to assume enemy gang members will be gunning for Chin, but how much danger he’s in also depends on his own behaviour. He’s under conditions limiting his movements and the police will be keeping close tabs on him. Chin can make himself a hard target if he decides to lie low. The strategy seems to have worked lately for rival gang member Jackie Tran, who has largely complied with court-ordered conditions while he waits for legal wrangling over his deportation to Vietnam to play out. Tran has been shot at before, and there’s no reason to believe his enemies are any less inclined to kill him now: the difference is, Tran likely hasn’t given them an opportunity.
But then again, the ever-present knowledge that people are out to kill them usually doesn’t stop the gangsters from doing their thing. For these self-styled “soldiers,” bravado and fatalism are the among the highest virtues.