A 19-year-old Vancouver man has died of "severe" sword injuries in the city's first homicide of the year.

Police said they received several 911 calls of a group fighting in the street with clubs, bats and a sword on Wednesday night on Elgin Street and East 47th Avenue.

Officers arrived to find the wounded victim. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead, said police at a Thursday news conference.

Five men, aged 19 to 21, were arrested. Three are still in custody being questioned. No charges have yet been laid.

Police said the victim doesn't have a criminal record but is "known to police."

"There are suggestions that there’s ties to the drug trade," said Const. Brian Montague. "There are some gang connections but nothing to suggest [the victim is] affiliated with any major gang."

Investigators are still looking for the murder weapon, he added.

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