Skip to main content

'They were labelled as gang associates': Cactus Club apologizes after police called on table of South Asian students


The Cactus Club Cafe has apologized after police were called on a table of South Asian university students at the chain's Coquitlam, B.C., location last weekend.

The company said security personnel had mistakenly identified some of the diners as having been involved in a "serious incident" at another Cactus Club.

“After reviewing the situation, it is clear we made a mistake," the company said in an email. "We recognize how upsetting this experience was for the guests involved. We deeply regret what occurred and offer our unreserved apology.”

Gurpreet Kaur, a relative of one of the students, told CTV News the group was approached by RCMP officers on Saturday night and loudly accused of being gang-affiliated.

"That's a big allegation," Kaur said. "There were other people in the restaurant that were recording them, so they're getting filmed being walked out by police officers."

Another video, which was posted by one of the students on TikTok, shows RCMP speaking with the group after they had been escorted out of the restaurant. One of the students can be heard questioning why they were ejected before anyone had asked for their ID.

"You guys come in, falsely identify us, kick us out of an establishment, embarrass us in front of every single person there, because what? Brown people are dangerous?" he says.

Coquitlam RCMP told CTV News that officers received a call about 12 "unwanted guests" at the restaurant, but stressed that officers were only there to assist Cactus Club security.

Kaur said that explanation doesn't justify the way the students, whom she described as responsible and well-behaved, were treated.

"They weren't being loud, they just went there and placed their orders – no one was drunk or doing anything that should have raised concerns," she said.

They were also split into two groups of six and weren’t mingling between tables, in accordance with COVID-19 rules, according to Kaur.

None of the students want their names or faces publicized as a result of the incident, Kaur added, as they worry about the potential impacts it could have on their future careers. Some already have jobs with the federal government, she said.

"They are still very traumatized by the fact they were labelled as gang associates," she said. "That's their biggest concern, that they can't freely walk around in this country without being labelled as gang-affiliated."

Kaur said a Cactus Club representative called them to apologize, but that the group is considering legal action – not for compensation, but to ensure the same thing doesn't happen to anyone else.


Disgusting behaviour from cactus club to call the police on 12 young men just trying to enjoy a birthday dinner.

♬ abcdefu - GAYLE Top Stories


LIVE UPDATES Iran launches its first direct military attack against Israel

Iran launched its first direct military attack against Israel on Saturday. The Israeli military says Iran fired more than 100 bomb-carrying drones toward Israel. Hours later, Iran announced it had also launch much more destructive ballistic missiles.

Stay Connected