Surrey using courts to go after Hells Angels clubhouse
VANCOUVER -- The City of Surrey is taking the Hells Angels to B.C. Supreme Court in an effort to shut down one of the group’s clubhouses.
The building is located on nearly two acres of land in the Anniedale neighbourhood near 180th Street and 96th Avenue.
According to the latest data from BC Assessment, the property is worth $40,074.
The rancher-style house is covered in security cameras and sits behind a locked metal gate with a “No Trespassing" sign.
Surrey filed a lawsuit on Jan. 31 claiming the clubhouse violates city bylaws and that renovations were done without proper permits.
The notice of civil claim names Gurbinder Singh Johal and Kulwant Kaur Johal as the the property’s owners, and Shannon Rennie as a tenant on a five-year lease.
“The city was advised by the RCMP and verily believes that Mr. Rennie is a full patch member of the Hells Angels, an outlaw motorcycle gang,” read the court documents.
The building has been occupied by the group’s Hardside Chapter since 2017, according to the suit.
The city claims there has been gatherings of HA members, public drinking and increased traffic in the neighbourhood since that time.
In early 2019, Surrey learned of a celebration planned at the property and informed the group it was not permitted. They complied and cancelled the event.
That summer, a member of the chapter, Suminder “Ali” Grewal, was shot and killed at a Starbucks drive-thru in South Surrey.
A wake was was hosted at the Clubhouse in his honour weeks later, accoridng to the suit.
“Law enforcement observed people drinking from red cups, smoking, and inhaling nitrous oxide from red balloons,” read the documents.
Bylaw officers also reported seeing members of other groups such as “The Lynchmen” and “The Dirty Bikers” at the gathering.
The building is zoned as a “one acre residential zone” and is not allowed to be used as a clubhouse, assembly hall or entertainment space.
The city also names a number of building permit contraventions including a tent-like structure in the backyard and renovations inside.
It’s now seeking an injunction to have those removed and have all large gatherings on the property cease.
No one from the Hells Angels organization has responded to email requests for comment on the matter.
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum’s office has declined to comment while the case is before the courts. The RCMP said it's aware of the group’s presence in the city.
The RCMP's Gang Enforcement Team is working with the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit and bylaw to address issues related to gang activity and organized crime.
“While I am not able to provide you any details with respect to the recent legal action taken by the City of Surrey, I can tell you that Surrey RCMP continues to prioritise enforcement and prevention activity to address gangs and the violent crime in Surrey,” said Cpl. Elenore Sturko of the Surrey RCMP.
The CFSEU has launched a new campaign aimed at educating the public about the dangers of "outlaw motorcycle groups," or OMGs.
“OMGs are far more dangerous to public safety than perceived,” Sgt. Brenda Winpenny of the CFSEU said in a statement.
“They foster a sanitized image, depict themselves as lovable, generous and misunderstood guys who are all about brotherhood and giving back to the community.”
Living near an outlawed motorcycle club can affect your safety and decrease your property value, Winpenny added.
“Clubhouses are not open to the public or authorities in the way that a Legion or Lion’s Club would be. They have been used as dens of criminality across Canada for years, both on the perpetrating of violence and crimes side and attracting violence,” she said.
A statement of defence in the City of Surrey’s lawsuit has yet to be filed.