Bhupinder "Bindy" Singh Johal (January 14, 1971 – December 20, 1998) was a gangster from British Columbia, Canada. A self-confessed drug trafficker, he was known for his outspoken nature and blatant disregard for authority. On December 20, 1998, Johal was fatally shot in the back of the head at a crowded nightclub in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Born in Punjab, India to a Sikh family, Johal immigrated to Vancouver, British Columbia with his parents at the age of four. He was increasingly temperamental, resented discipline, and had a lack of respect and remorse for others.
Although he did well in school and was even on the honor roll, he was expelled from Sir Charles Tupper Secondary School and sentenced to 60 days in jail after he "brutally" assaulted his vice-principal in 1989. Having moved to Richmond, British Columbia, Johal enrolled in McNair Secondary School. Johal smashed in the window of a car using a baseball bat and was convicted of possession of a dangerous weapon. Johal enrolled in college, but dropped out after his first semester and thus began the start of his criminal career. He built a reputation as a hit-man working for Jimmy and Ron Dosanjh both of whom he would later betray and allegedly kill.
He was charged with aggravated assault for beating two men in a bar with a broken beer bottle in 1997. When imprisoned, Johal was labeled a "menace to society." Bindy reportedly had antisocial personality disorder which may account for why he was so quick to kill those close to him. He didn't keep close friends and was extremely callous to his associates. He reportedly tortured some of his victims, some of whom were from his own crew. According to Constable Spencer, "All he was concerned about was himself, he was very narcissistic in nature and had a general hatred of people. Bindy actually met Bal Buttar, one of his close associates, in prison when he was in his twenties. They never knew each other growing up and from Bal's statements, Bindy made it very clear that they were not friends, but business partners as he did with everyone else in his group."
The Punjabi Mafia and Johal's criminal activity
The Punjabi Mafia is a criminal organization originating in British Columbia with gang members. The gang, initially being liberal in its membership, became more ethnocentric over time with the exception of some groups. The Punjabi Mafia is loosely affiliated and consist of several groups which may or may not work together. Some of these groups all Jatts include the Dosanjhs, Johals, Adiwals, Cheemas, Buttars, Dakhas, Duhres, Bhachus, Grewals, Sahotas, Atwals, Sandhus and several more. These groups are still active and notorious in Vancouver and have been since the early to mid 90s. They have been linked to the Independent Soldiers (IS), Red Scorpions, Lotus Triads, Hells Angels, and the United Nations gang in Canada although several members of the Independent Soldiers can also be grouped as part of the mafia as well. Bindy Johal was accepted into the Punjabi Mafia in the early 1990s most likely through Ranjit Cheema or Ron Dosanjh. Ranjit Cheema and Ron Dosanjh were among the few who had full control of the criminal organization. According to Johal's former lieutenant Bal Buttar, Punjabi Mafia hitmen claimed contracts in B.C. They are responsible for dozens of murders in Canada in the 90s alone and the majority of those murders still remain unsolved. Buttar admitted to performing several executions alongside Bindy, as well as the unsuccessful attempt to kill Johal's associate and former brother-in-law, Preet Sarbjit "Peter" Gill. However, Buttar was shocked when Bindy said he wanted his own cousin killed. "I thought this guy was kidding, but he was actually being serious, he wanted to take him out." Buttar was suspected of being behind the hit on Robbie Kandola outside his Coal Harbour penthouse. He believed Kandola was the one responsible for his younger brother's death. He is also suspected to be the one behind Bindy's death. It is still up for debate whether he was killed because Bal feared Bindy would kill him or because Ranj and other major players turned on him.
Johal was earning approximately $70,000–$90,000 a week in his prime through various illegal activities including murder for hire, debt collecting, and drug dealing. He was also affiliated to the Buttar brothers who were well known across the lower mainland for their brutal gangland slayings.
A man named Randy Chan was kidnapped on October 25, 1996 and Johal was charged with his kidnapping. Reportedly Chan had sold "diluted" cocaine to Roman Mann, one of Johal's associates. Chan was allegedly held captive for 50 or 56 hours, part of which was spent in an automobile truck. Johal negotiated Chan's release with his brother in exchange for five kilos of cocaine. Chan's brother was Raymond Chan, a gang member of the Chinese criminal organization called the "Lotus".
Johal was suspected in the murders of gangster Ron Dosanjh and Jimmy Dosanjh, who were brothers. Jimmy Dosanjh was killed in February 1994, and Ron was killed in April 1994. Johal believed that Jimmy Dosanjh had taken out a contract to kill him for over C$230,000, according to Crown prosecutors. According to Buttar, Johal did not take kindly to the Dosanjh brothers putting hits out on people but never getting involved or doing a contract themselves. As a result, after allegedly killing Jimmy Dosanjh, Johal went on T.V. and stated, "This Jimmy Dosanjh, they portrayed him as a hit-man this that. Personally from what I've seen of him on the street I don't think he could have hit his way out of a paper bag." This was a direct insult directed to Jimmy and Ron Dosanjh claiming that they had never done a hit/murder in their life.
Because of the required security for the trial, it was one of the most expensive trials in Canadian history. His former brother-in-law, Peter Gill, was also accused. The accused, including Gill and Johal, were acquitted. During and following the trial, Gill had an affair with one of the jurors named Gillian Guess. Guess was sentenced to 18 months after being convicted of obstruction of justice. Gill was tried and convicted of the same crime and sentenced to six years in prison.
The Crown appealed the acquittal of Johal and other defendants, but Johal was killed before the new trial began. Gill was not retried.
On December 20, 1998, Johal was dancing at the Palladium nightclub in Vancouver when he was shot from behind at 4:30 a.m. No witnesses were able to describe the assailant. Johal was rushed to a nearby hospital and died just four hours later. Four months before Johal's death, "at least four of Johal's associates had also been killed". In 2004, before he died, Bal Buttar told a reporter that he ordered the assassination of Johal, fearing that if he didn't do it, Johal would have had him murdered. The kidnapping trial was set to commence with two months of his murder; Buttar would have served up to 10 years if he had been convicted. Buttar was not convicted in the murder of Johal.
Johal was identified as one of the individuals in the Punjabi-Canadian community who sought criminal activity as a means of fast success and money, a glamourized lifestyle and to curb racial discrimination and abuse:
Why do you think Bindy Johal was a hero to many young Punjabi-Canadians? His legend had spread wide in the past few years among Indians not only here but also in Toronto and Montreal, New York and San Francisco. He stood up to his school principals, he beat up those who called him racial names — and he was making a lot of money.
Kash Heed, commanding officer of the 3rd Police District in Vancouver, stated that it was really disappointing that someone as bright and intelligent as Johal would turn to a life of crime. He added that young people who want to emulate gangsters like Bindy see the benefits of being a criminal, but do not see the danger of putting their lives at risk.
It was reported that shortly before his death Johal had said that he was going to get married.