A murder trial begins today for the accused leader of one of Calgary's most notorious and deadly gangs.

Suspected FOB gangster Nick Chan faces a charge of first-degree murder for the death of Sanjeev Mann at the Bolsa Restaurant on New Year's Day 2009.

Mann was one of three people killed that day — two other gang members have already pleaded guilty to killing gang associate Aaron Bendle and innocent bystander Keni Su'a.


Sanjeev Mann, 22, Aaron Bendle, 21, and Keni Su'a, 43, were shot and killed in a revenge gang plot Jan. 1, 2009. Chan is on trial for Mann's death. (CBC)

Although it's not alleged he pulled the trigger, Chan is accused of orchestrating the murder of the rival gangster.

"The Crown does not believe that Mr. Chan shot Mr. Mann or anyone else at the Bolsa restaurant," said prosecutor Adam May in his opening address to the jury.

"Our theory is that the accused, Mr. Chan, had a leadership role in a group called the FOB."

Chan's lawyer Dick Cairns made an opening address to the jury as well.

"Our theory is that Nick Chan was a ready-made convenient scapegoat," said Cairns.

He told the jury that the Crown's star witness whose identity is protected by a publication ban is a "career criminal, a serial murderer" and not a credible witness.

That witnesses is expected to be be the only one to implicate Chan as the one who "encouraged" the Bolsa killings as the FOB's leader.

The killing was at the peak of a violent gang war between the gangs Fresh Off the Boat (FOB) and FOB Killers (FK).

Bendle was kidnapped by rival gangsters the day before the attack and used to lure Mann  — the intended target — to the southeast Bolsa restaurant, according to previous court proceedings.

Su'a, a 43-year-old construction worker, was eating in the restaurant and tried to escape but was gunned down in the parking lot.

Operation Desino 

Chan was arrested as part of Operation Desino — the largest gang investigation in Calgary police history. Five men were arrested in connection with the gang-related deaths of six people in the city.


The Bolsa Restaurant triple homicide was the peak of a 2002-2009 gang war in Calgary. (CBC)

Since then, many of the key players have pleaded guilty to various charges or flipped on their former associates in exchange for plea deals, leaving Chan to face trial alone.

The FOB vs. FK gang war left 25 people dead between 2002 and 2009.

During the three-week jury trial, the prosecutors Steven Johnston and Adam May are expected to call about two dozen witnesses.