The Lower Mainland gang conflict continued to make its presence felt in Surrey and across the Semiahmoo Peninsula in 2022
Shootings, drug seizures, stabbings and more — both gang-related and not — were frequently in the news during the past 12 months
A shooting at South Surrey Athletic Park on July 30 targeted three individuals, claiming the lives of two, while seriously injuring the third. Two of victims were known to police before the shooting. A suspect was arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
The Whistler shootings of July 24, which resulted in the deaths of two men and the arrest of multiple individuals, shocked this community when two Surrey men were charged with first-degree murder in the double homicide. That incident was gang-related, police confirmed.
Social media was flooded with photos and videos around the same time, including one video posted to Twitter that showed one man lying on a sidewalk in a pool of blood next to a white BMW, and another nearby in the street.
One person died at the scene and a second succumbed to their injuries at the Whistler Medical Clinic soon afterwards.
A targeted shooting on Sept. 25 in Surrey left one seriously injured, another shooting (which police called an “isolated incident”) in South Surrey left one man dead on Aug. 27.
Among the most shocking attacks was the targeted shooting of Ripudaman Singh Malik, who was acquitted of the 1985 Air India bombing. He succumbed to his injuries on July 14 in Surrey.
In the courts
Former Surrey mayor Doug McCallum had not long left office before he went on trial for public mischief related to a September 2021 incident in the Southpoint Save On Foods. McCallum claimed that a driver connected to the Keep the RCMP in Surrey campaign had run over his foot. He was found not guilty in November. During the trial, his 911 recording was made public and testimony both supporting and challenging his account of events were shared.
A conviction for the second-degree murder of Semiahmoo Peninsula mechanic Paul Prestbakmo saw two youths sentenced to life on Nov. 4. Evidence revealed that Prestbakmo, 45, was stabbed 42 times over the course of 26 seconds in a parking lot, after he had stepped out of his home in the early morning hours of Aug. 16, 2019 to take out the garbage and have a cigarette.
On March 3, a senior was sentenced for 15 months in court following a February 2020 killing in White Rock’s Five Corners district. Following the assault of a White Rock, which later led to the man’s death, Ross Banner’s charge of aggravated assault was upgraded to manslaughter and the 71-year-old was handed the 15-month sentence.
Scams on the rise
What do cryptocurrency, romance and gift cards all have in common? Answer: They were all used as a ploy to separate unsuspecting individuals from their money in 2022.
This year in Surrey saw many scams — some successful, others less so — most targeted at seniors.
CARP’s White Rock-Surrey chapter noted an increase in cryptocurrency scams affecting older residents in the community, including some incidents that led to individuals investing their money into the digital currency, often under the direction of someone posing as a grandchild or a bank representative.
‘Sextortion’ was also on the rise in Surrey, with fraudsters luring men into sending sexual videos through social media or dating apps. Then the user, hiding behind a fake profile, would threaten to release the contents of the videos unless they were given a sum of cash.
Incidents of gift card scams rose around the country in time for the holidays, with a bit of a new twist this year.
Scammers place fake barcode stickers over the real ones on the backside of gift cards. The blank gift cards are taken from a store rack, tampered with and returned. When a customer purchases the card with the fake sticker-barcode, they are loading up the scammer’s card instead of their own.