Friday, December 9, 2011

Charges Against Men Police Link to Hate Group - News1130

Charges against men police link to hate group - News1130

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Charges against men police link to hate group

One man's accused of setting someone on fire

Dave White Dec 09, 2011 11:17:42 AM
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VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - Police are linking two men from the Lower Mainland to an international organized hate group called 'Blood and Honour,' which is responsible for racially motivated attacks around the world.

The men are accused in crimes against four local victims.

After an horrific attack in February, Detective Constable Terry Wilson with the BC Hate Crime Team says 25-year-old Robertson de Chazal has now been charged with aggravated assault.

"[He allegedly set] a Filipino man on fire. The 25 year old victim fell asleep on a discarded couch near the intersection of Commercial Drive and 5th Avenue in Vancouver," he says. "Mr. de Chazal and two other men were observed by witnesses allegedly lighting the victim on fire. The suspects allegedly fled the scene before arrival. The victim sustained injuries to his arms, face, and neck."

A second man has been arrested in connection with this incident but hasn't yet been charged and therefore can't be identified.

de Chazal is also charged with assaulting a black man in September, 2009, knocking him unconscious

Meanwhile, 25-year-old Shawn MacDonald is accused in assaults dating back to 2008 on a black man, an hispanic man, and an aboriginal woman.

MacDonald and de Chazal have been released on conditions.

Showing off a table covered in flags and t-shirts covered in swastikas, Wilson says it's not illegal to be part of an organized hate group.

"It's not illegal to belong to these groups. It's not illegal to have the paraphernalia you see here," he says. "But if these beliefs motivate you to commit criminal offences, that's when we become involved. When they become criminal offences, that's when we look at the motivation."

He says that motivation through membership can be used against an accused in court to label their offence a hate crime.

"If you belong to an organized hate group in BC we will know about you and if you commit crimes we will come and get you," warns Wilson.

None of the allegations against de Chazal or MacDonald have been proven in court.

Toronto's Dr. Abbee Corb is a global expert in white supremacy and radicalization. She says people should not be surprised these types of attacks happen in Canada.
While she says it's difficult for any expert to track down numbers, Corb points out these types of groups can be found across the country.

She says most hate crimes are committed by individuals with their own beliefs or who often have their beliefs fueled by groups posting material online.

"Hate crimes are very, very under-reported across Canada. People are afraid, at times, to reach out, because the hate crime doesn't just affect the person, it affects the community."

Corb says organized hate groups are very careful and know legal loopholes to make sure they get away with actions supporting their cause.

Meanwhile, Wilson says the local sect of 'Blood and Honour' is not connected to a white supremacist march that was planned but cancelled in Downtown Vancouver earlier this year.
He says there are up to 15 members of the group in this province that police are aware of.
There's another group in B.C. he says his team often investigates but is refusing to name it.

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