It is often ‘friends’ who will blackmail you
By Pradip Rodrigues
The big news in the South Asian community has been the blackmailing/extortion case involving
realtor Dale Mundi and the arrests of close to half -a -dozen alleged extortionist. Now if these men were common criminals known to police, it might not have caused quite the stir, but the men accused happen to be voluble and very visible members of the community. One of them even happens to be a police officer.
According to sources, Dale Mundi isn’t the only victim, there is another businessman who suffered a similar fate and speculation is rife that there are many more victims whose names may never be revealed.
Blackmail and extortion have been going on for a while
But the indisputable fact is that blackmail in various forms has been going on in the community for a long time now. There are unconfirmed reports of men threatening to reveal videos or intimate photographs of married women they were having affairs with, business partners who’ve fallen out threaten to expose each other’s corrupt practices, there are fierce rivalries and factions that are committed to destroying each other.
The problem is that a large number of first generation South Asians get into fields where competition is stiff and the margins of profits fall because too many have got into the same business and to stay afloat begin undercutting each other. Real estate, trucking and body shop repair places. The fact that business rivals happen to be fellow South Asians all who end up knowing and bumping into each other at some social gathering or the other every other week gives rise to two things- envy, irritation at having to make nice with a business rival at night when they battle for turf all day.
Envy and jealousy is very common
My sources tell me that many South Asians put up a front of friendship but are secretly plotting to take down each other. “You never know who your friends are and it is harder when one business person by luck or sleazy practices becomes rich. It is then that the rivals start digging for dirt, spread rumors and are often successful.
Because so many businessmen have at some point or the other dabbled in some questionable practices or have operated just below the radar leaves them open and vulnerable to blackmail. Often it is the friend or business partner who will attempt at squeezing the victim for money, book of business or something of value in return for not ruining his or her reputation.
Because South Asians tend to socialize so much and that so much of the socializing with business rivals and acquaintances is fuelled by copious amounts of alcohol, many things are revealed in unguarded moments that can come back to haunt the person.
The crab mentality
One active member of the community told me that if he wanted incriminating information on anyone, he could get it within ten minutes from the person’s rivals or friends. Walk into a big gala or party and you will see business rivals masquerading as friends, posing for pictures holding each other like they’ve just found long lost relatives.
Take the real estate business for example in Brampton and Mississauga, there are hundreds of South Asian realtors and mortgage ‘specialists’ as well as loan sharks operating in the shadows and advertising second and third mortgages. There is fierce competition for business, there are convenience store owners, restaurateurs and now even a police officer moonlighting as a real estate agents.
Everyone is hungry for business and if one agent or mortgage ‘specialist’ shows signs of moving into the big league, he better be prepared to pay a huge price- he will have to battle slanderous talk, defend himself against rumors and open himself up to blackmail if he or she has committed undetected fraud in the past or adultery. These are common tactics that have over time ruined the potential of South Asians in general from moving into the big league. Too many businessmen have squandered their time and energy trying to bring down rivals, ruin their reputation, wrest business from them and generally mind someone else’s business. Invariably they too end up victims of deceit and deception. It’s a vicious cycle that is ruining families and given the community a bad name.
Things can only get better
As long as we continue with this mentality of measuring each other’s worth by their net worth alone, there will be pressure on people to live beyond their means, get into serious debt and then try to make money by all means both legal and illegal. The urgency to get-rich-quick has ruined and will continue to emotionally, spiritually and economically bankrupt members of the community.
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