Dangerous lifestyle catches up with Aman Manj

VANCOUVER — In 2008, brothers Aman and Jodh Manj were driving around south Vancouver hunting their rivals during a violent period in Lower Mainland gang violence.

With the murder of 35-year-old Aman on Wednesday in downtown Vancouver — almost three years after Jodh was gunned down in Mexico — their life story has an all-too-familiar ending.

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“You can go back generation after generation after generation, there seems to be some sort of attraction to get into this kind of lifestyle,” retired Vancouver police Supt. Mike Porteous said Thursday.

He recalled the intensive Vancouver police investigation, Project Rebellion, that led to the arrests of Aman Manj and several rivals in the Sanghera and Buttar groups back in 2009.

“They were hyper violent and they were hunting the others for control, but also just for survival and to eliminate their foes before they themselves were eliminated,” Porteous said.

“But you just can’t keep that up forever. And eventually, when your guard is down, you get it. It’s not a matter of if, it’s just a matter of when. And, you know, the fact that he was 35 for a guy that was living that sort of lifestyle, he’s probably lucky he made in that long, unfortunately.”

Aman had risen to a significant level in the United Nations gang when his killer or killers finally caught up to him about 3:30 p.m. as he sat in a friend’s car in the underground parkade of the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel.

Officers could be seen reviewing hotel surveillance video late Wednesday evening. They also canvassed the hotel and residences in the building looking for witnesses and evidence.

VPD Const. Tania Visintin said Thursday that no arrests have been made. Police were investigating whether a burning vehicle found near Charles and Penticton streets in east Vancouver, is linked to the murder, she said.

“It’s very, very concerning to have this type of reckless behaviour happened in our city in broad daylight,” she said.

“Anytime that this type of targeted shooting happens, we always know that it’s followed with retaliation.”

Manj had made a lot of enemies over the years in the drug trade. Visintin said investigators don’t know yet if his murder is linked to the Lower Mainland gang conflict in which members of the UN, the Brothers Keepers, the Kang/Red Scorpion group and the Wolfpack have all been killed this year.

Sources said he led a fairly public life. Aman was at a kid’s birthday party at Langley’s Chuck E Cheese in February 2020 when Ravinder Singh Sandhu, 42, was shot to death inside his vehicle as his two young children sat in the back seat. Sandhu was a relative through marriage of Jodh Manj.

Last year, he was sued by B.C.’s public guardian, which said in a statement of claim that as both the executor and a beneficiary of his brother’s estate, he was responsible for providing for Jodh’s five-year-old daughter Emma.

The statement of claim filed on Aug. 27, 2020 identified Aman as a “businessman” who lived at his mother’s home on Fieldstone Avenue in Vancouver.

The public guardian noted that Aman had sworn an affidavit stating his brother had a North Vancouver house with a net value of $650,876.87 at the time of his death, personal property worth $494,193.79 minus liabilities of just $1,315.92. The house was transferred into Aman’s name in July 2020, according to B.C. Assessment records.

The guardian is seeking a court order that the estate provide financial support for the girl.

In his statement of defence filed last October, Aman said his late brother was not the child’s father nor was he the uncle.

Both Manj brothers had been the subject of successful civil forfeiture lawsuits.

A lawsuit against Aman and an associate was filed by the B.C. government agency in May 2017 over less than $6,000 and several cellphones seized after a traffic stop.

“The VPD conducted an officers safety search of the driver’s seat area of the vehicle and located what appeared to be an aftermarket compartment underneath the centre console,” the statement of claim said. Police also found radio-communication jamming devices in the truck of the vehicle. A small amount of methamphetamine and cocaine residue was found in the compartment.

VPD seized considerably more cash from Jodh — almost $24,000 — during an 2009 search of his mother’s house.

Officers also seized restricted firearms and bear spray, the lawsuit filed by the director of civil forfeiture said.

In Manj’s bedroom, police found “several cellphones, some active, many others inactive, several pulls of ecstasy in plastic Ziploc baggies, a set of black body armour hanging in Manj’s bedroom closet, $23,940 in Canadian currency in a shoebox under Manj’s bed, and other controlled substance and firearm usage and trafficking paraphernalia.”

And the director alleged he made the cash from selling drugs and firearms.

kbolan@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/kbolan

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