Update: Vancouver's Fortune Happiness Massacre
Barry Artiste, Now Public Contributor
Now Public Readers should know there are Canadian Laws on the books for this type of crime, but lienient and (proven media stories in the past) incompetent Judges choose to interpret them in their own way.
The Law and Order Government of Stephen Harpers Conservative Minority Government since day one has without success been trying pass Crime Legislation through the Liberal Dominated Senate who (Liberal Senators) are stonewalling the Conservative Government in all attempts to safeguard Canadian citizens in what seems to be a "Game of High School politics".
These Conservative driven crime bills which the Conservatives wish to push through leave no room for interpretation and clearly spells out penalties and prison terms for these type of offences as the current slew of politically appointed Judges clearly have no clue on the severity of these crimes as witnessed by British Columbia's long standing Judicial "Catch and Release Programs". Media reports that the rest of Canada are pretty hard on Criminals and interpret our current laws accurately when sentencing Gang Land criminals. It appears to me that the Conservative Government most likely feel our BC Judges do not have what it takes to render important criminal interpretations and decisions. My Opinion, is these British Columbia Judges who wish to remain Judges should perhaps be best suited to Judging Tractor Pulls at Country Fairs and Local Beauty Contests because they certainly have no place in the Justice system.
This a perfect example of why the Conservative Government's longstanding case on an having Citizen Elected Senators and Elected Judges. But these two initiatives are also stonewalled by the Liberal Dominated Senate as well, hence why the Liberal Senators wishing to protect their jobs and generous salaries and allowances wish the status quo to remain.
My Final Thought
So it will look like it will be up to Canadians at election time to turf out these Liberal Senators by giving Prime Minister Harper and his Conservatives a clear majority in order to fulfill his Crime and Punishment Mandate.
Failure of Canadians to do so at election time, will ultimately give us more of this type of criminal activity in this country as criminal organizations continually snub their noses at our laws, much like the Liberal Opposition have long enjoyed doing.
Rest assured their will be a retaliation from Asian Gangs over this shooting, when and where and how soon we will soon know.
Two dead, six wounded; police call for more officers to battle gangs
Jeff Lee, Linda Nguyen and Sunny Freeman, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, August 10, 2007
In what Vancouver police say is likely the worst mass shooting in the city's history, two masked gunmen burst into an east-side all-night Chinese restaurant early Thursday and shot eight people in front of horrified onlookers.
At least two young men died and a third man was taken to hospital in critical condition, according to Vancouver police spokesman Const. Howard Chow. Five others were taken to hospital with less serious gunshot wounds.
The shooting occurred around 4:30 a.m. at the Fortune Happiness Restaurant at 654 East Broadway, in Vancouver's Mount Pleasant district, leaving the restaurant shattered.
Coroners service personnel carry out body of one of two victims shot dead during an early morning rampage by two masked men at the Fortune Happiness Restaurant at 654 East Broadway.View Larger Image View Larger Image
Coroners service personnel carry out body of one of two victims shot dead during an early morning rampage by two masked men at the Fortune Happiness Restaurant at 654 East Broadway.
The severity of the shooting brought immediate calls from the police for more officers to fight gangs, although the department said it didn't know whether the incident was gang- or drug-related.
It also generated a stinging attack on the Liberal-dominated Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who said the upper house was holding up two important pieces of anti-crime legislation that might have helped prevent the attack.
Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan weighed in as well, expressing confidence in police efforts to solve the case.
According to Chow, the shooting took place as about 15 or 16 people, including staff, were in the restaurant.
Two groups were sitting at two separate tables, including one group of nine, when the two gunmen entered through the front door. They immediately began firing at the larger group. Eight people were hit -- four men and four women -- and the ninth person escaped unharmed.
Chow said police arrived to a scene of mayhem.
"When our members arrived, as you can imagine, it was very chaotic. We had tables that were overturned, chairs that were overturned, a number of victims that had been shot and we had some frantic witnesses that needed to be dealt with," he said.
Mohamad Ahmed, 46, had just closed up his Shapla Grocery and Halal Meat store two doors down from the restaurant, when he heard the gunshots.
"It sounded like a building collapsing or something. I thought something had happened but I didn't realize it was an inside shooting," he said.
Ahmed was inside a Mac's Convenience Store across the street and ran out when he heard the rapid gunfire.
"A lot of people were coming to the door and were screaming," he said. "Some were sitting down on the curb, like five or six men and women. The victims were crying."
One of the very clearly shaken women was a waitress, he said.
Ahmed said the seafood and pho noodle restaurant has changed ownership three times in the last five years, yet it always remained a late night eatery open from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Chow said several people sitting at one table who witnessed the attack were taken to the police station for interviews.
Deputy Chief Bob Rich said it had all the hallmarks of a gang shooting, even if investigators haven't been able to prove what provoked the shooting.
Chow said police were withholding the identity of the two men killed, but put their ages at 19 and 26. He said they were both known to police and were from the Lower Mainland.
Friends and relatives of one of the people caught in the shooting went to Vancouver General Hospital seeking information.
A woman who identified herself as Krista said she was looking for her brother, who she phonetically described as Sunt Bui. She spelled his last name several times for hospital staff, and said he was 27 and had been at the restaurant at the time of the shooting.
She stood in the hospital's emergency ward with four other Asian youth. "I know he's here. I know it because a friend's sister called and said he was there last night with them."
However, hospital staff would not confirm to Bui whether her brother had been admitted.
Krista said she and her friends went to the hospital after failing to reach her brother on his cell phone.
Around 12:30 a.m. a hearse pulled up and dropped off the two bodies.
Rich sought to calm fears that the gunmen had escaped and now pose a threat to the city, saying it was a targeted attack and that the general public is not at risk.
But he also said it was the worst mass shooting he could recall, and he blamed it in part on a flood of weapons on city streets.
"Obviously, this is one of the most heinous ones that we've come across," Rich said. "It fits with the proliferation of these kinds of weapons in our city. We have had shootings in restaurants like this a couple of other times, but not one where I can remember as many people were hit. This is one of the worst shootings we've had in Vancouver."
The gunmen appear to have fled out the back door. Police cordoned off the entire lane and were scouring it for evidence.
Chow said the restaurant wasn't known as a trouble spot, and "wasn't on our radar."
He couldn't confirm whether video cameras recorded the shooting. He would not reveal how many guns were used or number of shots fired, saying all of that is being withheld by investigators as "holdback material" to assist in their investigation.
But David Morrish, a neighbor, said the owners of the restaurant had appeared to take efforts in recent days to make the business more secure.
Morrish, who said he was woken up by the sound of multiple gunshots, said he walks by the restaurant daily, and only Wednesday had noted that a cardboard sign had been placed in the window saying that the restaurant "now" had security cameras.
"There was a sign put up just yesterday that said security cameras were just installed," he said. "It was on a piece of cardboard on that door that has been shot out, so I am assuming the people there knew there was going to be trouble."
The front door of the restaurant was smashed -- either by bullets or by patrons in their rush to escape from the gunfire -- and there was also a large bullet hole in one front window.
Ahmed described the new owner as "friendly," and said he has owned the Fortune Happiness for only a year.
"All the time it's busy there, especially after 12 a.m. All their customers are young people, in their 20s," he said.
But others said they worried that the restaurant was a haven for criminal elements.
Shamis Ali, the owner of a Somalian eatery, Mogadishu Cafe, next door, said she had long been suspicious about the restaurant's clientele.
"I always felt like something bad was going on in there," she said. "Many nicely dressed people came here with nice cars all lined up."
The owner of a hair salon across the street says he's not surprised something so bloody has happened so close to home.
"This restaurant serves gangsters, drug dealers, clubgoer types," said the 47-year-old man, who didn't want to give his name for fear of retaliation.
His hair salon has been a fixture on Broadway for 22 years, and he said it's definitely not the first time trouble has come to the neighborhood.
"There was a stabbing with street-level drug dealers outside [the restaurant] around Christmas, too. This neighbourhood has always had an edge to it because it's a transient place."
Rich used the shooting as an opportunity to press for more funding for officers, saying he's concerned about the level of violence on Vancouver's streets. The police department has asked for more money to hire more gang squad officers, something he said would help take the edge off organized crime.
He said the gang squad has been successful in seizing a number of weapons. But the reality is that Vancouver now is flooded with guns, including high-quality weapons that have been smuggled in from the United States.
"We are seizing almost a gun a day off the streets of Vancouver, and that is a huge change from the days when I was allowed to go out on the street as a cop," Rich said.
"We are very concerned that Vancouver is dealing with situations where there is a lot more handguns, high-quality handguns, a lot more automatic weapons."
Sullivan said he was shocked by the shooting, but believes firmly that such incidents are few and far between, and normally linked to criminal activities. He said he appreciated Rich's concern, but that request will have to await the outcome of a strategic planning exercise the Vancouver Police Board will do with incoming Chief Constable Jim Chu after he takes over from the retiring chief, Jamie Graham, on Monday.
"I do believe guns in the city are a real problem," Sullivan said. "This is a shocking crime. But I can tell you our city is very safe, and these kinds of incidents are, thankfully, rare."
Harper, who was on a tour of northern Canada, said the shooting underscored the need to get two pieces of anti-gun legislation through Parliament, which he said are being held up by the Liberal-dominated Senate.
"Frankly, this constant increase we've seen in the major centres ... in gun, gang and drug crime is a big concern to this government," Harper said.
The Conservatives have two relevant bills in the pipeline: Bill C-10, which would establish mandatory prison sentences for crimes with guns, and Bill C-35, which would toughen bail for people charged with gun crimes.
"These reforms have been demanded by police, by prosecutors, by big-city mayors, by provincial governments of all stripes. And yet they are being held up by the Liberal majority in the unelected Senate," Harper said.
To see a video and hear audio connected to this story visit www.vancouversun.com
VANCOUVER'S DEADLY DINERS
There have been a number of fatal shootings in or in front of Vancouver restaurants over the last decade. All occurred on the city's east side, and most involved late night "after-hours" crowds.
JAN. 18, 2007
Diem Xuan Cafe (formerly the Mimosa Karaoke Club)
635 East 15th Avenue
Victim: a 35-year-old gang member.
Police said the victim was shot outside the restaurant in what they believe was a dispute over drugs.
APRIL 28, 2006
Kwong Chow Congee & Noodle House
3163 Main Street
Victim: Evan Gardner killed; four others injured.
The shooting occurred about 1:30 a.m. when a man armed with a gun tried to rob the restaurant and customers tried to overpower him.
MARCH 6, 2004
Gourmet Castle Restaurant
2828 East Hastings Street
Victim: Gerpal (Paul) Dosanjh
This early-morning shooting appeared to be gang-related. Dosanjh suffered several gunshot wounds and died at the scene. He was the younger cousin of Ron and Jimmy Dosanjh, two gang leaders who were shot in separate shootings in 1994.
DEC. 14, 2003
Victim: A 26-year-old Richmond man was shot dead by a man who walked into the restaurant and opened fire. Police were not sure whether the killing was gang-related. Neither the victim nor the restaurant had a history with police.
OCT. 16, 2003
My Huong Restaurant
5628 Victoria Drive
Victims: Thanh Son Bui, 49 and Hong Van Nguyen, 47 both of Vancouver.
Two masked gunman entered the restaurant at 10:40 p.m., ordered patrons to the floor, then started shooting, killing the two victims and sending a third to hospital. Police believed robbery was the motive.
MAY 11, 1997
Zukie's Jamaican Kitchen
Victim: A male, unidentified at the time.
Residents in the area reported hearing several men shouting, then two gunshots at about 3 a.m. The restaurant was used as an after-hours club, often catering to patrons between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
Henton Chinese Seafood Restaurant
850 Renfrew Street
Victims: Hin Loong Chan, 31 and Jien Kung Yeau, 33.
The two victims, identified by police as gang members from Toronto, were shot to death in front of a dozen other patrons.