Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Kidnap victims badly beaten

Police blame drug war between 2 Asian gangs

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TWO men kidnapped from a Winnipeg restaurant and held for ransom in a drug war between two Asian gangs have been found alive but badly beaten.

Three men have been arrested and charged with the kidnappings. Police say two other suspects, Justin Rivera and Rainier Santos, are still at large and should not be approached by the public.

"They are considered to be very dangerous," said police spokeswoman Const. Shelly Glover.

The kidnapping happened on Friday night after a "brawl" by two rival gangs at a Logan Avenue restaurant, said Glover.

She said Chi Kien Dao, 21, and Hue Troung, 20, were taken by the competing gang.

Friends of the victims only contacted police when the abductors demanded a large sum of money as ransom.

Police wouldn't say how much or whether it was paid.

However, Glover said officers found the two victims in the northwest corner of the city late Sunday night.

The men were beaten and suffered numerous injuries. Both are in hospital and listed in stable condition.

Glover said members of the gang unit and patrol officers have been working around the clock on the case.

"It's been a very difficult investigation because of the nature of the two factions involved," Glover said, adding that they have not been co-operative.

Warrants have been issued for the two suspects still at large.

Rivera is 24, 5-9 and weighs 205 lbs. He has short black hair, brown eyes, and a a pock marked complexion.

He has tattoos on his left forearm of the letter J and some Asian symbols.

Rivera was convicted earlier this year in a gang-related drive-by shooting that narrowly missed the intended target.

The intended victim was standing on the front steps of his Sherburn Street home when he was confronted by rival gang members inside a black Yukon SUV.

Seven bullets were fired, all of them missing the man and spraying the house.

Santos, 28, is 5-11 and 187 lbs. with short black hair and brown eyes.

The three men charged this weekend in connection with the incident are Viet Chung, 30, Peter Chung, 32 and Koachay Thongsakhom, 26.

They are all charged with two counts of kidnapping and aggravated assault.

Glover said there's been an increase in Asian gang-related offences over the past year.

Over 70 hydroponic marijuana grow operations have been found in Manitoba this year and it's believed that many of those operations are linked to an Asian-based organize crime network.

Police Chief Jack Ewatski said earlier the rise in grow-houses backed by Asian gangs was straining police resources.

The city police formed an Asian gang organized crime unit earlier this year that has been working with RCMP and Immigration Canada officials to try and identify the gangs' connections and how they managed to get into Canada and stay here.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 12, 2004 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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