The saga of the illegal casino mansion raid in September in the Toronto area goes on. So, what is the latest news?
The Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations (CACA) is a pro-Beijing umbrella group that represents one hundred groups across Canada. It intends to develop mutually beneficial ties with Chinese state officials and the country.
But there is more here than meets the eye. Canadian intelligence sources suspect an illegal network. One of the entrepreneurs involved is the Toronto real estate tycoon, We Wei. Now he faces multiple criminal charges for running illegal gambling operations out of his Markham mansion.
His tie with CACA is causing concern for national security. How many other underground casinos are operating in Toronto and Vancouver? Is drug cash and money laundering involved?
York police revealed that a guns, gangs, and drug probe into illegal casinos across the city eventually led to Canada’s largest-ever illegal casino. Wei is the operation’s alleged mastermind and charges have also been filed against his wife, Xing Yue Chen.
It appears to be a sophisticated operation with $20,000 per hand baccarat betting limits A high-end restaurant with a maître ‘d appeared served families with children in a landscaped courtyard. Sex trafficking likely occurred in all fifty-three mansion rooms.
Wei Wei and his wife control many companies and properties in Canada. Records show that Wei, Xing Yue Chen and CACA Chairman, Yongtao Chen, are directors of an Ontario company that bought two Toronto-area hotels in December 2017, for $75-million. But there may be no connection between the mansion funds and these hotels.
Nonetheless, the charges against Wei and his wife raise questions about large-scale money laundering. Det. Sgt. Salhia of the York police said that Wei has “many properties” and that the continuing investigation could target them as proceeds of crime.
York police fear that such operations leads to “gun violence, armed robberies, kidnappings, extortion and other serious violent offences,” in the region.
There is said to be a very tight, incestuous relationship between organized crime in China and diaspora communities, involving the United Front. It may be a tool of infiltration and interference. Scott McGregor, a former intelligence expert, who advised B.C.’s Attorney General David Eby on casino money laundering intelligence, said “the connectivity between the United Front and transnational organized crime” has been observed by police for years in Canada.
“Transnational organized crime includes having a center of gravity in the
host nation, so they can conduct threat financing or money laundering.”
What they are talking about in British Columbia is not low-level money laundering gangs trying to move money through businesses. It is more about international organizations, and their connections to nation states operating in Canada.
A scandal has ensued related to the mansion raid. In 2016 and 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participated in at least a handful of fundraising events in the Toronto and Vancouver regions that featured wealthy entrepreneurs such as Wei. Apparently, Trudeau met him twice.
Trudeau has been under attack for donations to his Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation from a Chinese billionaire and member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Bin Zhang. Meanwhile, in Richmond, Trudeau received donations in 2016 from a Chinese national, Rongxiang “Tiger” Yuan. He has been suspected to be a money launderer at a local casino.
In addition, confidential B.C. Lottery Corp. records indicate that Yuan is a close associate of Paul King Jin, a B.C. Lottery casino high-roller and owner of several Richmond casinos. Yuan is currently suing for defamation over various publications.
Intelligence sources maintain that police believe underground casinos connected to Chinese transnational crime networks have multiplied on the west coast and also in the Toronto region because the B.C. government has cracked down on massive cash transactions in B.C. Lottery casinos.
Connections have solidified in 2020 because illegal casino operators have forged criminal ties, with elite suspects and gambling patrons travelling between large-scale underground casinos in Ontario and B.C.
Chinese officials known as whale gamblers in Australian casinos, have also been investigated over massive, suspicious cash transactions in B.C. government casinos, according to criminal intelligence sources and B.C. Lottery Corp. documents.
Richmond and Metro Vancouver is the home of immigrants from China of well over a hundred thousand people, so you can expect a negative reaction to accusations. Meanwhile few comments have been forthcoming from Chinese officials.