Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Accused Calgary gangster's custody questioned at deportation hearing

The man who police claim to be “the trigger man” for a notorious street gang is a public threat and shouldn’t be released pending deportation proceedings. But Tien Ngoc Ho’s lawyer argued at Monday’s immigration hearing there isn’t enough evidence to warrant keeping him in custody. “In the past when detainees have been detained citing a danger to society, they have had violent records,” Bjorn Harsanyi said. “There has no single act of violence alleged against Mr. Ho — there has been speculation and innuendo, but we have to be careful to separate innuendo and proof.” Stephanie Mathyk-Pinto, Canada Border Services Agency hearings officer said Ho — who recently finished federal time for weapons convictions before going into CBSA custody pending deportation — if released poses a public danger and is unlikely to report for removal. He was convicted after police found loaded handguns in a hidden vehicle compartment of his common-law wife’s car and five loaded handguns in his home. Jail officials have a photograph of Ho, who survived a 2005 gang-related drive-by shooting, in jail flanked by known gang members. The issue, she argued, is not whether the reputed gang member is determined to be one but whether it is safe for him to be in the community. “I’m not asking you to find him a gang member ... but to look at the totality,” Mathyk-Pinto said. Ho, who arrived to Canada in 1992 at age 5, saw his permanent resident status stripped in December 2009 after being ordered deported for serious criminality. Mathyk-Pinto said it is likely Ho will “arm himself for his own protection and surround himself with (gang) associates,” if released. “If there was no threat on Mr. Ho’s life you have to ask why he had two fully loaded hand guns in his glove box. Who does that? He was clearly afraid for his life,” she said. Police Sgt. Gord Eiriksson said Ho “can put anyone in danger ... the public, family members or associates” and told the hearing he is skeptical 24-hour house arrest, suggested by Harysani, would reduce that risk. “The reality is that even if Mr. Ho was bound by a house arrest, we’re talking about individuals who have the ability and the intent to (obtain) high-powered weapons, assault rifles that would blow through this house or that house and the next house, so definitely the public will be at risk,” he said. Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator Lee Ann King delivers her decision Tuesday.


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