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Three assailants walked into the Bolsa Vietnamese restaurant and opened fire on a table where two men and a woman were seated. ((CBC))

Calgary's police chief vowed to crack down on gangs following a New Year's Day shooting at a restaurant that killed three men, including an innocent bystander.

The men killed included Sanjeev Mann, a known gang member, and Aaron Bendle, who was seated at a table with Mann at the Bolsa Vietnamese restaurant, along with a woman who escaped.

 Remembering Keni Su'a

A vigil will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday outside Bolsa Vietnamese restaurant at 180-94th Ave. S.E.

A memorial service will be held on Jan. 10 at 1 p.m. at 240-15th Ave S.W.

Keni Su'a was shot outside the restaurant after trying to flee.

Police said Su'a was an innocent victim who ran out of the restaurant after two men entered and opened fire. Su'a was confronted by a third man before being gunned down in the restaurant parking lot by the original two shooters.

"People in this community have a right to expect that they can go into a restaurant and have a meal and not be at risk," Rick Hanson said Tuesday. "What happened last week, Jan. 1, was absolutely reprehensible and we are going after them, and we are going after them hard. Even harder than we have been."

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Keni Su'a, shown with ex-wife Lenni Su'a, was remembered by a friend as 'a humble, gentle man with a great smile and a heart for God' on a memorial page on Facebook. ((Courtesy Lenni Su'a))

Hanson promised to double the size of violent crime suppression team, pull over suspected gang members on violations as minor as littering, and put pressure on the gang members' families through new provincial legislation that allows police to confiscate anything purchased with money obtained from crime.

"We have, on good information, the parents of some of these gang members are benefiting from the proceeds that are obtained from the trafficking of drugs, the sale of drugs, and other crimes associated with that," he said.

"When we make those links sufficient to satisfy a court, we're going after the proceeds of those crimes as they are reflected either in homes, cars or businesses."

2 gangs killing each other, says expert

The triple slaying on New Year's Day was just the latest in the back and forth killing between two Calgary gangs: Fresh Off the Boat (FOB) and the Fresh Off the Boat Killers (FK).

Over the past eight years, more than a dozen gang members have been slain because of the rivalry.

"It's a shoot-on-sight type of environment where they see somebody somewhere, the phone call goes out and the shooting team comes in and does the shooting," said Henry Hollinger, an Asian gangs expert.

The FOB gang was formed in 1999. After an internal dispute in 2000, the FK gang was created. The violence started almost immediately.

Calgary police don't identify gangs publicly, but members of Calgary police's gang unit have testified in court that five members of the FK have been killed since 2002:

  • Linju (Billy) Ly, 2002.
  • Vinh Le, 2002.
  • John Pheng, 2005.
  • Mark Kim, 2007.
  • Sanjeev Mann, 2008.

Over the years, the original members of the FOB gang have nearly been wiped out, including Roger Chin, a high-ranking member killed last year, and:

  • Adam Miu, 2002.
  • Jason Dang, 2004.
  • Peter Huynh, 2005.
  • Dat Le, 2005.
  • David Tran, 2005.
  • Tan Thanh Diep, 2006.
  • Son Nguyen, 2007.

Despite the violence, the gangs have continued to grow in size, sell drugs, and buy property and weapons.

"This not going to be over until there is the last man standing and that is going to be one or the other gang member who is going to be the last man left over," said Hollinger. "A lot of the recruits now, they don't even know what the feud is over. They just know that the other gang is their enemy."

Hieu Ngo, who is starting a study on youth violence, said it's important to examine gang members' environment, not their last names.

"If we think that the gang issue is just a Vietnamese people's issue, then I think we are not thinking big picture," he said. "I think we don't understand much about what's going on beneath the issue."

With files from Peter Akman