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Asian hotelier, nephew shot dead in London

Amarjit Singh and his nephew Raginder Singh were allegedly shot at by Asians after a row over car parking between the two groups.

india Updated: Dec 25, 2003 21:34 IST
Vijay Dutt
Vijay Dutt

 Amarjit Singh

The murder of hotelier, Amarjit Singh, 52, and his nephew Raginder Singh, 35, has horrified the Indian community and caused concern in the police that the gun culture is spreading to the second generation of Indians who, so far, had been the most peaceful among all other Asian communities.

They were hit, on Friday afternoon, outside their hotel by a flurry of bullets fired by hooded gunmen, all allegedly Asians. The assailants then targeted the 26-year-old daughter but she escaped by diving to the ground. She is in trauma having been a hapless witness to the horrific crime.

The police have now learnt that the Singhs had earlier argued with two groups of young men over cars parked at the rear of the family's hotel Forest View in Forest Gate in East London. Witnesses have recalled hearing raised voices and the Singhs asking two groups of people to move their cars.

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The two groups left but one returned minutes later and started attacking a van belonging to the Singh family. Both businessmen, who were married and had children, and ran a chain of hotels across London and Essex, came back outside to confront the gang of three that was shooting at their van. It was then that they were shot.

 Raginder Singh

The family has told the police that one group had moved out easily but another one comprising youngsters argued and did not go straightaway. There were words between them and they eventually went away, but only to return about 15 or 20 minutes later and started smashing up the van.

A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed that the one line of inquiry "is that this may have started over a row about parking." The police hope that the CCTV camera might have some footage that could help in the investigation.

An elderly neighbour while describing the two Singhs as belonging to a peaceful family who had migrated from Punjab, told the officers that the area was "plagued by drug dealers and prostitutes". The Singhs were trying to stop the goings-on.

In the last two month, the neighbour said, a number of prostitutes have been seen doing business behind the hotel. "We always see these young women standing on the road and they take customers back to the alleyway and I believe that Amarjit Singh was trying to stop them."

He also confided that a lot of boys were also seen in the alleyway trying to sell drugs. He said that the "law has been soft". According to him the elder Singh died instantly but the nephew had survived until the ambulance arrived.

The police have appealed for witnesses.

First Published: Dec 25, 2003 21:33 IST