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Anti-gang unit investigating after plane crash kills 4 B.C. men, including fugitive

Two men from Richmond, another from Kamloops died along with murder suspect in Ontario crash

British Columbia’s anti-gang unit says it’s looking into why an international fugitive was on board a plane that crashed in northwestern Ontario and what his relationship was with the other passengers.

Sgt. Brenda Winpenny of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit B.C. said Wednesday police will also be looking for any links to B.C. gangs as they review the crash that killed Gene Lahrkamp, 36.

Lahrkamp was one of two Canadian suspects wanted on murder charges in Thailand in the death of Jimi Sandhu, who police have said had gang affiliations in B.C., when he died.

“We would be looking into why and what kind of connections if any he had with those other people,” Winpenny said.

Winpenny made the comment as Ontario Provincial Police identified the final of the four victims as Hankun Hong, 27, of Richmond, B.C.

The others who died are Duncan Bailey, 37, of Kamloops, B.C., and Abhinav Handa, 26, also of Richmond, B.C.

Handa was the pilot and was operating the privately owned aircraft, Ontario police said.

The Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash, which Ontario police have said occurred sometime between Friday and Saturday.

The small aircraft left Dryden, Ont., at 9:09 p.m. local time and was heading for Marathon, Ont. The wreckage was discovered 20 nautical miles southeast of Sioux Lookout, Ont., after the flight was reported overdue, the TSB said.

It did not respond to questions about whether there was cargo on board, what the weather conditions were during the flight or when exactly it crashed.

The crash occurred nearly three months after Sandhu’s alleged murder on Feb. 4.

The Royal Thai Police charged both Lahrkamp and Matthew Dupre and sought help finding and arresting them after they fled to Canada, the anti-gang unit said.

The Department of Justice confirmed it sought a provisional arrest warrant for both Lahrkamp and Dupre following a request from Thailand after the murder of an Indian national at the Beachfront Hotel Phuket.

“Due to Sandhu’s gang affiliations and history in British Columbia, CFSEU-BC led the investigation into the search for Lahrkamp and Dupre,” the anti-gang unit said in a statement Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Winpenny declined to share anything further about Sandhu, saying she didn’t know anything about his role in B.C.’s gang landscape.

Dupre was arrested Feb. 20 in Alberta with assistance from local RCMP. He has been held in custody to await the extradition process, the anti-gang unit said.

The unit has advised international and domestic policing partners of Lahrkamp’s death, it said.

Winpenny said that the anti-gang unit was leading the search for Lahrkamp in order to secure his arrest for extradition. It was not acting upon any charges laid in Canada, she said.

She said she could not share any further information about Lahrkamp or Dupre and did not have any details about the allegations in Thailand.

—The Canadian Press

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