Former Surrey gangster shares his story to highlight harsh realities

A former gangster is speaking out to highlight the harsh realities of the gang lifestyle and its far-reaching consequences. Monika Gul reports.

By Prabhjot Kahlon, OMNI News and Monika Gul

Mindy Bhander says his life is “blessed,” with his wife and two-year-old daughter. But it has taken a while for Bhander to get to this point.

In 2010, the former Surrey gangster was found guilty of second-degree murder and spent 12 years in prison.

“That lifestyle, it’s a rollercoaster, but at the end of the roller coaster, it doesn’t stop and the attendant comes and takes your seatbelt off and you get out,” he said.

“At the end, it goes off a cliff, and it lands in two places: either jail or death.”

Bhander says he was fortunate enough to land in prison. During an exclusive interview with OMNI Punjabi, he revealed how he got into a life of crime at the age of 16, when he changed schools and his parents moved to India.

“I was bullied, I got assaulted, I got picked on, and that sort of changed me, put me into a different direction where I had a lot of resentment built up in myself and to protect myself, I gravitated towards gangsters, people who were involved in criminal activity, people capable of extreme violence,” he said.

In January 2008, Bhander entered a Surrey townhouse and shot and killed a 24-year-old man after the two got into a confrontation.

He was arrested weeks later and eventually found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years. At the time, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said the sentence put an end to Bhander’s reign of terror in Surrey.

“Gone to prison, my family lost out, my son lost out, having a father, my grandparents, they passed away, few other relatives passed away, you don’t have time to say goodbye to nobody,” he said.

“When the cops come knocking on the door to arrest you, they don’t ask you, ‘Hey listen, do you want to say bye to anybody?’ You’re just handcuffed and that’s it.”

Out of prison for a few years now, Bhander is using his second chance at life to try to keep others from going down the path he did.

“Only he can tell the message of how difficult that life is and the impact it has had on him and his family,” said Chief Superintendent Shawn Gill with the Surrey RCMP.

Bhander recently took part in a Surrey RCMP video that’s being shown to high school students in the city.

“We wanna shatter the image of gangs. What you see in videos, what you see on the streets, the fancy lifestyle, its momentary,” he said. “And we need to ensure that kids stay away from making small mistakes, which lead to bigger mistakes, which could lead to criminality, which may lead to a gangster lifestyle.”

Bhander says he feels like sharing his story is a moral obligation.

“I need to stand at the fork where people took that wrong road and wave people down and say, ‘No, don’t go down that road, I’ve been down that road, it’s not good,'” Bhander said.

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