ALBERTA

Nick Chan And The Decline Of Calgary's FOB Gang

08/27/2013 06:33 EDT | Updated 10/27/2013 05:12 EDT
Calgary Police Service
Nick Chan once headed Calgary's most violent criminal organization, the FOB gang.

As the leader of the notorious group, which formed in the late 1990s, Chan was in charge of a large drug network, would pay members to maim and kill rivals and ran a bawdy house, according to court documents obtained by the CBC.

Chan's paranoia kept him safe from the gang's fierce rivals, the FK — a splinter group that formed because of personal rifts between members of the FOB right before the turn of the millennium — but Chan's eventual downfall has been due to the co-operation of his gang brothers and former wife with police. Chan is currently in custody and facing several charges, including murder.

Of the other top-ranking founding members of the FOB, most have been killed, are in custody, or have made plea deals.

For years, police intercepted phone calls, used surveillance and turned gang members, all in efforts to try and bring down Chan and other high-ranking gang members.

"I think that what happens is that members of criminal organizations take extraordinary measures to avoid detection and to avoid being caught," said Insp. Cliff O'Brien, head of the Calgary Police Service's major crimes unit.

"What that means is our investigators have to take extraordinary measures to overcome that."

Now new details are emerging about just how far Chan and the FOB — which initially stood for "Fresh Off the Boat" — went to protect themselves against police and rival gangs.

The court documents were produced by police during their investigation. They include police findings, interviews and expert opinion and centre around investigations into six slayings.

None of the allegations have yet been proven in court.

The makings of gang leader

As a teenager, Chan started dealing drugs with his younger brother Tim. They would receive drugs from their “uncle” Dau Foo Minh — the leader of an older gang who went by “The Devil Boys” — and sell them on the streets of Calgary.

Chan quickly moved up the ranks, dealing drugs by the kilogram. By the time the group was entrenched in the Calgary drug scene, Chan was considered the leader.

There were several small gangs that were operating in the 1990s, but by the early 2000s, two top Asian gangs emerged — the FOB and, shortly after, the FK, or "FOB Killers."

The gang war between the two has been linked to at least 25 deaths in Calgary since 2002.

Chan would develop "flags" or divisions within the gang, each under a separate leader. Some of the divisions had 20 or 30 members. Chan would collect money from each flag, which would be used to pay lawyers, get houses to hide drugs and compensate members for attacking enemies.

Around 2009, all the flags would again come together under Chan. By then, the FOB had formed alliances with native gangs — the Red Alerts and Alberta Warriors — inside the Calgary Remand Centre and other Alberta prisons.

The puppet master

The court documents outline how Chan would orchestrate attacks against FK members.

FOB enforcer Hans Eastgaard, in an interview with police, detailed how Chan ordered the death of Kevin Anaya in August 2008. Chan planned the attack, choose the gang member who would commit it and gave him a gun.

Anaya was shot and killed while walking to a friend's house for a barbecue in Marlborough.

Eastgaard told police he was paid $10,000 by Chan and another top-ranking gang member, Dustin Darby, to shoot and kill the 21-year-old.

Chan is also said to have instructed the notorious triple slaying at the Bolsa Restaurant on Jan. 1, 2009.

Two masked men entered the restaurant and opened fire. FK member Sanjeev Mann and associate Aaron Bendle were shot several times and died. Bystander Keni Su'a was killed while fleeing the building.

Findings by police conclude each of the shooters was paid $10,000 by senior members of the FOB.

The gangster's wife

Chan married Yongyi Guan in April 2008, in China. Her first application to immigrate to Canada was rejected because Chan did not provide enough tax and employment information. The couple appealed the decision and were successful. Guan arrived in Canada in February 2012.

The couple’s relationship eventually became abusive, according to Guan. Once after she brought up suspicions that he was unfaithful there was shoving and slapping. Afterwards Chan bought her a plane ticket back to China and she left Canada in July 2012.

Chan had a CD marked "goofs" that had photos of his enemies on it. Guan saw the photos had "about 10 or more pictures and that some were white and some were Asian."

Guan would tell police that Chan was involved in a variety of businesses including being a partial-owner of a Chinatown club and had an apartment building he rented out.

She would later tell police that Chan and a female associate operated a bawdy house around 2009 and 2010. According to documents, Chan told her that he was running five or six prostitutes.

She says Chan was careful to the point of being paranoid.

He kept multiple pay-as-you-go phones and would always delete text messages and his call history. He carried a personal phone, a jail phone, a texting phone and a lawyer phone.

In one phone call intercepted by police, Chan told an associate why he was taking so many steps to cover his trail because "everybody's trying to plant moles, like cops are trying to plant moles."

Guan said she did not know Chan's role in the gang, but "when he received telephone calls from jail, she could tell by the tone in his voice that he was not low level,” according to the document.

He "drove around in circles to avoid being followed." He would not discuss many things on the phone, she said.

Chan also kept a place at an apartment building, where he would enter and exit the elevator on different floors from where he lived. He would even stick a piece of paper in the door frame, to monitor if anyone had entered his suite.

As for Chan's motivations, Guan said he wanted"revenge," "war," "guns and more shootings."

Guan returned to Canada in November 2012, and spoke to border agents about Chan. She told Canada Border Services Agency officers she was filing for divorce since Chan was unfaithful.

She spoke with CBSA officials again in April 2013, calling Chan "a violent individual and is involved in the drug trade."

Near-death attack

On April 23, Chan was leaving the Community Natural Food Store in Calgary's southwest when he was attacked by two men, who stabbed him repeatedly.

Chan was able to drive away and was found by emergency personnel in the area with seven stab wounds. The injuries were life-threatening and required emergency surgery.

Linju (Billy) Ly, who is known to have FK ties, has been charged with attempted murder in the attack, according to documents before the court.

The fall

Despite his near-death experience, Chan's reign as leader of the FOB continued.

His arrest, this July, was due to statements from his longtime friend Eastgaard.

Eastgaard provided testimony to police, which eventually led to the arrests of Chan and several other senior members of the FOB.

On July 18, Chan was taken into police custody. His charges include conspiracy to commit murder, instructing a criminal organization — which marks the first time Calgary police have laid the charge — and two counts of first-degree murder.

He is now awaiting trial.

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