Morbid Curiosity


Tews, Robert Blaine – See Russell Krowetz .

Thanksgiving Summit: Talking Turkey – In October 2000, there was an unprecedented biker dinner party in a downtown Montreal restaurant, as top Rock Machine members and Hells Angels members sat down together, toasting each other with champagne and dining on seafood and pasta.

It was an attempt to calm the public and the politicians, amidst calls for tougher anti-gang legislation in the face of escalating biker wars, and the deaths of innocent civilians. The most memorable moment was when the Angels’ Quebec boss, Maurice “Mom” Boucher, and Rock Machine boss, Fred Faucher, shook hands for the camera and called for peace – not blood.

That peace lasted for just a few months, but considering the biker climate of Montreal, even that was enough to make Montrealers feel thankful.

See also: Maurice “Mom” Boucher, Paul Porter, Rock Machine .

Thanksgiving Peace Summit, 2000

Tian Li: Hot Plastic – A member of the Big Circle Boys gang, he moved in the early 1990s from Vancouver to California. There he was convicted of a scheme to sell hundreds of counterfeit credit cards to undercover agents in a sting investigation run by the U.S. Secret Service, the San Francisco police, and the California Department of Justice.

Assistant district attorney George Butterworth said Tian’s counterfeiting scheme was “not some street-level, nickel-and-dime situation. This is a very sophisticated operation. It involved the use of a runner.… It involved the use of lookouts. It involved the use of cellphones that were in other people’s names.”

See also: Big Circle Boys .

Todaro, Joe: Hot Wings – When Todaro became Buffalo Mob boss in October 1984, “Johnny Pops” Papalia assumed the role of his southern Ontario representative. Todaro’s family was involved in racketeering with the Laborers Union and the cheese and the pizza business.

His pizzeria on West Ferry Street was perhaps the most popular in the city, and that’s where he retired when he said he left the Mob. He had supplied pizzas and wings to the Clintons and Gores and to soldiers serving in the Persian Gulf War.

See also: John “Johnny Pops” Papalia .

Town Tavern – See Max Bluestein, John “Johnny Pops” Papalia .

Tousignant, André “Touts” “Peanuts”: Tough Nut – He was a member of the Hells Angels’ puppet gang, the Rockers, which was formed on March 26, 1992, by Luc “Bordello” Bordeleau and André “Marine Boy” Gagnon. The Rockers were often used as shock troops in the biker wars, carrying out bloody tasks for the Angels.

André “Touts” Tousignant (no beard) and friend from the Rockers bike gang

Tousignant impressed fellow bikers in March 1995 when he yanked the detonator out of a remote-controlled bomb that had been placed at the Rockers clubhouse and threw it across the street, where it exploded. He was trusted enough to be bodyguard for the head of the Hells Angels Nomads chapter, Maurice “Mom” Boucher, and he killed prison guard Diane Lavigne for Boucher.

Tousignant was told to lay low after the Lavigne murder, but word reached Boucher that he had been involved in a drunken argument in a bar. Boucher worried that Tousignant was a loose cannon, and called him on December 6, 1997, for a visit. Tousignant’s fingerless, burned body was found near Bromont, northeast of Montreal, on February 27, 1998. He had been shot several times and then set on fire, and the damage was so extensive that it wasn’t until March 28 that the body was finally identified through dental records and tattoos left on his partly burned skin.

Ironically, that was on the eve of Boucher’s preliminary hearing for ordering the murder of two prison guards, including Lavigne.

See also: Maurice “Mom” Boucher, Diane Lavigne, Donald Magnussen, Scott Steinert .

Asau Tran: Final Victim – Peace came to Toronto’s Chinatown when gang leader Asau Tran was shot more than thirty times in his face and knees outside a downtown Toronto restaurant in 1991. That marked the end of a bloody war between rival gangs that claimed ten lives and injured more than a dozen other victims.

Before the killers fled the scene, they placed a white glove – the same type worn by police officers at funerals – under Tran’s body. Scribbled on the palm was the badge number of a Toronto police officer who was active against the gangs.

Asau Tran

The message to police was clear and chilling: Back off.

Police cited Tran’s presence in Canada as an example of lax immigration standards. A convicted extortionist, Tran arrived in Canada in the early 1980s as a refugee, then moved on to the United States. He was later deported to Toronto from Los Angeles, but Canadian immigration law wouldn’t allow him to be sent back to Vietnam, where he would face death.

In a rare television interview just a week before his killing, Tran told reporter-host Isabel Bassett that he wasn’t such a bad guy. However, he predicted that he could get shot nonetheless. Vietnamese gang leaders seldom reach forty and Tran seemed to know he would be no exception, telling Bassett, “These guys – one of these groups may not let me stay alive.”

See also: Trung Chi Truong, Vietnamese Gangs .

Trepassy, Newfoundland – See Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts .

Triads: Pre-Confederation Roots – The first known case of a Canadian Triad society was in 1863 in the gold-mining community of Barkerville, British Columbia. The group was called the Hung Shan Tong (Red Mountain Tong) and it was said to be an offshoot of a San Franciscan tong (a tong is technically a Chinese businessmen’s association, while a Triad is strictly an organized crime group) whose members travelled north to avoid racial abuse in California. Other societies followed, many of them legally constituted as Freemason societies.

In 1908, opium was declared illegal in Canada, and Triad members smuggled it into Canada from Hong Kong, where it was still legal. One of the leading smugglers in Vancouver between 1905 and the late 1930s was Shu Moy, who used cabin-crew workers on the Empress and Blue Funnel passenger liners to move the drug between China and Canada.

Triads moved in the 1880s to Toronto, brought by railroad workers migrating east after the railway was completed. They were active in bordellos, bakeries, and laundries and, during the Second World War, they helped smuggle Chinese immigrants, as well as Jews fleeing Nazi Germany.

Agencies contributing to the report included the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, and the Customs Service, and they jointly concluded that the rapid spread of international crime since the end of the Cold War posed a significant threat to democratic governments and free-market economies.

It pointed at what it considered Canada’s lax rules for newcomers, particularly a plan aimed at attracting foreign investors: “Members of ethnic Chinese criminal groups from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau have exploited Ottawa’s immigration policies and entrepreneur program to enter the country and become Canadian residents, which makes it easier for them to cross into the United States.”

The report described the Triads, which collectively have an estimated global membership exceeding 100,000, as fluid associations of ethnic Chinese criminals and quasi-legitimate businessmen involved in an array of criminal enterprises.

See also: Big Circle Boys , 14 K Association, Ghost Shadows, Lau Wing Kui, Kung Lok, Sun Yee On .

Triumbari, Salvatore “Sammy”: Fatal Meeting – On January 5, 1967, this member of Toronto’s ’Ndrangheta met with five other men – including two New York City extortionists – in a Little Italy restaurant in Toronto. The next day, Triumbari was murdered. The killing was never solved.

See also: Giacomo Luppino, ’Ndrangheta, John “Johnny Pops” Papalia, Michele “Mike” Racco, Filippo Vendemini .

Trudeau, Yves “Apache” “The Mad Bumper”: Countless Killings – He murdered so many people for the Hells Angels and their friends that he lost count of his victims.

Trudeau had once been leader of the Hells Angels chapter in Laval, Quebec, and he earned the disapproval of his biker brothers by trying to extort $250,000 from the gang’s Halifax chapter.

News of his collection efforts against fellow bikers and enthusiastic pill-popping wasn’t well received among fellow Quebec Hells Angels. Hells Angels from Halifax, Sorel, Quebec, Sherbrooke, and the United States all agreed that Trudeau and his Laval comrades were attracting too much attention and that their drug use was out of control, so a contract was put out on the entire chapter. The killers missed Trudeau, however, because he was in a drug treatment centre at Oka at the time.

Yves “Apache” Trudeau (Yves Malette)

Hearing his chapter had been rubbed out, he gave himself up to authorities, which meant he would be able to survive, unless his former biker brothers found him. Trudeau received $40,000 and agreed to plead guilty to forty-three charges of involuntary manslaughter in exchange for testimony against his former Hells Angels colleagues. He was given a life sentence when he was sent to prison in 1986, but became eligible for parole after just seven years.

Word was that his old Angels cohorts put a $300,000 price on his head.

On April 29, 2004, Trudeau pleaded guilty to four sex charges involving a boy under the age of fourteen. He was acting as his own legal counsel when he made the plea.

See also: Hells Angels, Red Zone .

Trung Chi Truong: Trademark Anger – The glass counter shattered easily in the New Phnom Penh jewellery store in Lowell, Massachusetts, when Truong crashed a hammer onto it October 16, 1986. He and two other two men screamed some threats and left quickly, with $100,000 in jewellery.

It was such an easy haul that they decided to come back three months later. This time, their hammers bounced off new unbreakable plastic counters, and they turned their frustration – and weapons – on the owner’s wife, Mon Ly. When they left, the Cambodian immigrant’s skull had been cracked open with the butt of a pistol and she lay in a pool of blood.

Trung Chi Truong

“It was probably one of the most violent robberies the area had seen,” a Boston detective said. “It was typical of Ah Sing’s style.”

Ah Sing was better known in Toronto and Montreal as Trung Chi Truong. The brutal attack on the shopkeeper bore the bloody trademark of the dai lo , or gang boss: intense anger.

“I would say he is the most dangerous Vietnamese gangbanger in North America,” one Toronto investigator told the Boston Globe . “You just mention his name, and everybody runs.”

Truong’s Vietnamese gang was known as Ah Sing’s Boys, and their crimes bore the imprint of Truong’s fury. In 1991 in Toronto, Truong’s gang gunned down three strangers, because one had glanced at a woman in a nightclub.

The roots of his anger can be traced back to his childhood in Saigon in the early 1960s, according to his Boston attorney, Norman Zalkind. Wartime destruction was the norm for this son of Chinese-born merchants as he grew into his late teens in Vietnam.

A perilous four-day ride on a rickety boat took Truong and his brother from Vietnam to a refugee camp in Malaysia in 1978. They lived there for eleven months, then moved on to Texas. By 1980, they were in Boston, where Truong’s brother earned his citizenship and opened a barber shop, while Truong hooked up with Chinatown gangs, extorting money from other small-business people.

Truong tried to impress Stephen “Sky Dragon” Tse, then leader of Boston’s Chinese Ping On gang, with his violence and mobility. Six weeks after the first Lowell robbery, Truong organized the execution of Boston gambler Son Van Vu, twenty-eight. Shortly after Vu’s body was discovered with a bullet in his head in a Hollywood Boulevard motel, Truong was in Toronto, organizing two more robberies.

Then he bounced back to New Phnom Penh jewellery store in Lowell for the raid that almost killed Mon Ly.

As Truong rose in the underworld, Tse’s grasp slipped, and in 1989, Tse fled to his native Hong Kong. Six years later he was arrested there on racketeering charges. However, before he left Boston, Tse kicked Truong out of the Ping On for committing unsanctioned jewellery-store heists.

This didn’t matter much to Truong, who had forged ties with the powerful New York–based Vietnamese gang BTK , or Born to Kill gang.

In 1990, Truong was in Montreal, directing a Calgary robbery by cellphone. When his gang started to get nervous, he ordered them back into a store for the heist, which netted $500,000. By 1991, his extortion ring was collecting $10,000 a week in Montreal alone.

Truong was scooped up by Massachusetts police, but escaped custody and fled to Canada. He was known in Toronto in the early 1990s as the dai lo of an intensely loyal Vietnamese street gang, which was involved in an unprecedented wave of Chinatown murders and extortions. By late summer of 1991, ten people in Toronto were dead, all associates of Truong’s main rival, Asau Tran, the dapper self-proclaimed King of Chinatown. Tran himself was machine-gunned to death as he left the Pot of Gold Restaurant on Dundas Street West near Beverly Street. Truong was in jail in Boston at the time, but police said he was suspected of ordering the hit from there.

His gang was also behind a triple-murder on March 3, 1991, at the A Don restaurant on College Street.

His most blatant crime was the one that triggered his downfall. He publicly assassinated Phong Ly, a rival gang member, on August 27, 1994, in a gambling den in Boston’s Chinatown. He organized the killing for weeks, and obsessively planned the escape route along Tyler Street.

Two suspects in that case were arrested in Toronto in 1995, and things were now falling fast for Truong. His gang’s loyalty had waned as he grew greedy and shared less with them. “It was Truong’s failure to look after his followers that ultimately led to his downfall,” Const. John Glenn of the RCMP ’s criminal intelligence section told John Duncanson of the Toronto Star .

In 1998 in Boston, Truong pleaded guilty to Ly’s murder, as well as heroin trafficking, extortion, and the jewellery-store robberies, ensuring he would spend at least twenty-two years in prison, unless he could again escape custody. At that point, he had been on the run from police in Canada and the United States for more than a decade. When he finally went behind bars, Mon Ly, his victim from the Phnom Penh jewellery store attack, still suffered from memory loss.

See also: Born to Kill, Asau Tran .

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