FK gang figure back in jail

The violence between FOB and FK has died down in recent months, but there’s ample evidence their criminal business is continuing.

Last week, police arrested convicted killer Vuthy Kong and charged him with seven drug-related offences. Police allege they spotted Kong dropping off narcotics to drug houses in the Albert Park/Radisson Heights area during an investigation targeting street-level trafficking in the neighbourhood.

Despite the trifling amounts of marijuana, cocaine and oxycodone police allegedly found, a judge denied Kong bail yesterday, citing nine convictions for violating bail conditions.

Kong, 26, has a criminal record stretching back to 2002 — a rap sheet that started with a manslaughter conviction for fatally stabbing Adam Miu during a fight outside a downtown karaoke bar. Miu wasn’t a gang member, but the fight angered people who were. The killing came shortly after infighting among FOB gang members caused some — including Kong — to align with a breakaway faction that called itself the FOB Killers, or FK. The former friends-turned-enemies had clashed mainly with fists and crude weapons before (though FK member Brandon Boychuk was shot and wounded at a house party in 2001), but Miu’s slaying set in motion an escalating cycle of violence and retribution that has been responsible for at least 24 more killings since.

For arcane legal reasons, Calgary police will no longer publicly identify anyone as a gang member. The history, on the other hand, speaks for itself — as does an internal Calgary police document listing FK gang members that somehow ended up in the hands of FOB associates before police recovered it in a raid in 2008. Kong’s scowling countenance is among the 37 mugshots in the document.

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Tonight’s crime panel topics

I’m back in the Calgary Herald newsroom after an extended weekend, and back on Alberta Primetime tonight for the show’s weekly crime panel. Here are the topics Calgary defence lawyer David Andrews, consultant and former Edmonton police chief Fred Rayner and I are slated to discuss:

  • How to better enforce suspended driver’s licences. It’s estimated as many as 90 per cent of suspended motorists continue to get behind the wheel.
  • Alberta considering legislation that would cut off social programs to offenders wanted on warrants.
  • A Supreme Court ruling that upheld blanket publication bans on bail (or “show cause”) hearings.

(Alberta Primetime airs live at 7 p.m. MDT on Access TV: Channel 13 in Calgary; Channel 351 on Bell TV; Channel 267 on Shaw Direct/Star Choice. You can visit the show’s segment archive to view past discussions about crime and other topics.)

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NEWS FLASH: last arrest in Commando case

I don’t have a lot of time to go into tremendous detail today, but it’s worth noting that police have tracked down the last remaining supsect in the gang-related killing of Brandon (Commando) Prevey.
Police found Brandon Cody Smith, 22, at a home in Calgary at 2:30 p.m. today and have charged him with conspiracy to commit murder. I’ve filed a short story on the Herald website.

He’s the fourth person charged in connection with the shooting death of Prevey in Red Deer last year. Prevey was a member of the Edmonton-based Crazy Dragons gang.

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Tonight on Alberta Primetime

Here’s the line-up for the Wednesday night crime panel on Alberta Primetime. Defence lawyer David Andrews and I will be in Calgary, joined by consultant and former Edmonton police chief Fred Rayner in the provincial capital:

  • Police overtime costs: Calgary police went nearly $3 million over the $11.7 million set aside for OT in 2009.
  • Pharmacy robberies in Calgary: is illegal demand for OxyContin driving a trend?

(Alberta Primetime airs live at 7 p.m. MDT on Access TV: Channel 13 in Calgary; Channel 351 on Bell TV; Channel 267 on Shaw Direct/Star Choice. You can visit the show’s segment archive to view past discussions about crime and other topics.)

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Trial reveals killing’s gang links

With the beginning of the murder trial of Tyler Lee Nolet this week, it has finally become clear how the case fits into Calgary’s gang war.

Aside from the obvious violence in the outcome, it wasn’t immediately apparent that the killing of Kenneth Wong in 2008 had any connection to the deadly conflict between FOB and the FOB Killers. It’s alleged Nolet took a porcelain toilet tank lid from the washroom at Cowboys nightclub and smashed Wong twice in the head. Wong fell to the floor, fatally injured, and died later in hospital.

Sources began telling me shortly after that the killing was gang-related, and by the time I wrote my article on the history of the gang war and composed the accompanying graphic drawing connections between all the murders, I was able to establish that Wong was associated with people in FOB. I also later found out Nolet had his own associations with FK: he was present at an unsolved nightclub killing where FK members have been implicated — though it’s important to add that Nolet is not considered a suspect in that case.

Still, a motive behind Wong’s crime was frustratingly elusive — and when I finally did find out, I was prevented from reporting anything due to the publication ban imposed during Nolet’s preliminary inquiry.

Evidence presented during the trial has revealed that Nolet believed Wong was responsible for stabbing him two years earlier, in 2006. It’s alleged Nolet attacked Wong after seeing him inside Cowboys on the night of the killing — whether it was a simple act of revenge or a pre-emptive strike depends on whose testimony is to be believed.

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Alberta Primetime panel: Supreme-ly absent

Readers of my blog will know I have faithfully appeared on Alberta Primetime’s Wednesday crime panel these past few weeks, even though I’ve had to miss two do-or-die games involving my beloved Canadiens during their improbable NHL playoff run. (I may not have that problem by this time next week, but I’d rather not dwell on that unpleasantness quite yet….)

Anyway, I mention this because I will be flying solo in Calgary for this week’s installment: apparently my usual cohort, defence lawyer David Andrews, thinks arguing a case in front of the Supreme Court of Canada is more important. The nerve! I suppose I could say “Good luck,” but, then again, he IS a defence lawyer…. Seriously though, it’s quite a feather in his cap and I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer my kudos. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it upon his return to the show.

On to this week’s panel, then, which will rely, then, on the astute insights of consultant and former Edmonton police chief Fred Rayner and defence lawyer Ed O’Neill on the following topics:

  • A proposal by federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews to reinstate “rape” as a distinct offence in the Criminal Code. The term was struck from the books in 1983 and rape is now prosecuted under the broader offence of sexual assault.
  • Reports from Calgary police that gangs are recruiting children, and not just targeting the typical teenage demographic.

(Alberta Primetime airs live at 7 p.m. MDT on Access TV: Channel 13 in Calgary; Channel 351 on Bell TV; Channel 267 on Shaw Direct/Star Choice. You can visit the show’s segment archive to view past discussions about crime and other topics.)

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Verbal stickhandling tonight on Alberta Primetime

For the second time in recent weeks, I’ll be sporting my Montréal Canadiens tie on Alberta Primetime as my beloved Habs once again face elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs. Hey — it worked two weeks ago against Washington, so why not? Calgary defence lawyer David Andrews and I will occupy our usual spots on the show’s weekly crime panel, joined tonight in the Edmonton studio by retired police officer Jack Kraus. Here’s what we’ll talk about — bearing in mind we rarely get through the whole agenda (I blame Andrews!):

  • A case in Edmonton involving a police officer who shot a man four times while on duty. The officer was cleared by an internal investigation, but the Law Enforcement Review Board recently overturned that finding. How are complaints against police and allegations of misconduct handled in Alberta? Is there a need for change?
  • The federal government’s move this week to reform Canada’s pardon system — starting with the name: they’ll now be called “record suspensions.” If the government’s bill passes, applicants will have to wait longer before getting one as well as meet a higher burden to prove they’re deserving — and sex offenders need not apply.
  • An NDP MP’s private member’s bill (Bill C-232) mandating that all Supreme Court justices be bilingual has passed the House of Commons. Is it necessary? Is it fair?

(Alberta Primetime airs live at 7 p.m. MDT on Access TV: Channel 13 in Calgary; Channel 351 on Bell TV; Channel 267 on Shaw Direct/Star Choice. You can visit the show’s segment archive to view past discussions about crime and other topics.)

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