Alleged ‘heavyweight’ gangster could be poster child for B.C.’s public inquiry into money laundering

Kwok Chung Tam is a person with many identities and robust connections — an alleged kingpin of a Chinese language crime cartel so dominant in Canada that police as soon as mentioned it will set the cost of heroin at the streets of North The usa.

Consistent with allegations made by way of Canadian cops between 1991 and 2014, Tam is a heroin importer, a chemical drug lab operator and a “identified mortgage shark” with a historical past of violence.

He’s additionally been combating deportation for over 25 years. And in line with contemporary courtroom filings, Tam is assumed to be living in a luxurious Richmond, B.C. condominium.

How Chinese gangs are laundering drug money through Vancouver real estate

He additionally has alleged ties to B.C.’s on line casino business and to the province’s multibillion-dollar actual property money-laundering drawback.

If true, those claims recommend Tam may well be probably the most architects of the so-called “Vancouver Fashion” of transnational arranged crime.

Secret police study finds crime networks could have laundered over $1B through Vancouver homes in 2016

And now that B.C.’s govt has determined to release a public inquiry into the province’s money-laundering scandal, the allegations in opposition to Tam and questions on his connections may illustrate how the Vancouver-area actual property marketplace will have been exploited by way of Chinese language arranged crime.

In 2018, a International Information investigation printed secret police find out about connected greater than $1 billion value of top of the range Vancouver-area belongings transactions in 2016 to suspected cash laundering and arranged crime, whilst an unbiased assessment launched ultimate week by way of B.C.’s govt estimated $five billion was once laundered throughout the province’s actual property ultimate 12 months by myself.

Brazen ‘mortgage shark’ applies to stick in Canada

International Information has acquired 1000’s of pages of federal courtroom data ready by way of Tam’s legal professional — Vancouver-based immigration legal professional Peter Larlee — and the federal government that had been submitted as a part of an effort to stay Tam in Canada.

The data, which come with volumes of immigration and legislation enforcement information stretching again to 1988, define just about 3 many years of alleged illegal activity and Tam’s alleged connections to arranged crime.

Lots of the data — together with the ones about Tam’s alleged connection to the Large Circle Boys — have by no means been examined in courtroom.

WATCH: Timeline of cash laundering in B.C. casinos

“Mr. Tam has recommended us to warning you referring to allegations of participation in arranged crime and, specifically, gang club,” a observation from Tam’s legal professional to International Information mentioned. “Mr. Tam denies such participation or club. Those allegations have by no means been confirmed in courtroom or at any immigration continuing.”

Nonetheless, the paperwork and allegations from more than one ranges of legislation enforcement paint the image of Tam as a well-connected member of the China, Hong Kong and Macau-based crime syndicate — and the way the cartel has taken root in Vancouver.

“The Asian crime cartel was once so tough that police mentioned it will stockpile heroin and dictate the road value of the drug in North The usa,” Tam’s investigative report with the Canada Border Services and products Company (CBSA) mentioned.

“Its contributors, who had connections to underground banks in Hong Kong and the poppy fields of Burma, don’t hesitate to get rid of obstructions,” the record mentioned.

In 1991, Tam and various refugee claimants from China had been arrested in a “huge strike” by way of Vancouver police, in line with a record in Tam’s report, for alleged involvement in an armed, violent home-invasion and jewelry-store-robbery cellular that terrorized rich Chinese language-Canadian households.

Tam was once present in ownership of 10 stolen Rolex watches, however the case didn’t lead to fees, in line with CBSA paperwork.

Extortion and guns fees stemming from a 1998 loan-sharking criticism and raid on Tam’s Burnaby domestic had been stayed in 2002 on account of undue courtroom delays.

Recent photos of Kwok Chung Tam filed as part of a federal court review application

Contemporary footage of Kwok Chung Tam filed as a part of a federal courtroom assessment utility

Federal courtroom information

In 1999, Tam was once charged in Victoria with conspiracy to import and site visitors heroin in a case police mentioned had connections to Vancouver, Thailand, Hong Kong and Las Vegas.

Tam was once acquitted of those fees in 2002 — partly as a result of a pass judgement on discovered wiretap proof within the case was once inadmissible.

Fentanyl kings in Canada allegedly linked to powerful Chinese gang, the Big Circle Boys

Then, in 2006, data display an RCMP investigation focused various alleged drug homes throughout B.C.’s Decrease Mainland. All the way through the raids, police declare they stumbled on an ecstasy lab in a Richmond domestic the place Tam lived with various kin.

On this case, Tam was once discovered responsible in 2010 of unlawfully possessing marijuana for the aim of trafficking and ownership of narcotics. He was once passed a 15-month conditional sentence, which integrated space arrest and a guns ban.

For his section, Tam has denied any involvement with arranged crime. He additionally characterised his position with the marijuana grow-op as “minor and inactive.”

“Allegations of gang club are unsubstantiated and false,” Tam wrote in a testimony filed with the courtroom in July 2016.

“It’s not that i am now nor have I ever been a member of a gang, triad or prison group,” he mentioned.

Assembly the premier

A prior International Information investigation confirmed that, in line with police, the Large Circle Boys now dominate the fatal business of fentanyl importation and trafficking in Canada.

The newly-discovered CBSA information submitted as a part of Tam’s immigration case additionally recommend Tam and the Large Circle Boys will have been related to a infamous on line casino licensing scandal in B.C. that concerned former B.C. premier Glen Clark.

B.C. casino ‘knowingly accepted’ millions from banned loan shark, audit alleges

Those allegations have by no means been up to now disclosed, and Tam’s identify has no longer been discussed in public data associated with the case. However the CBSA paperwork recommend that Tam — an alleged “heavyweight” Large Circle Boy, in line with a 1998 CBSA record — was once by some means related to the questionable on line casino utility.

“One among them, a mortgage shark banned from B.C. casinos, was once additionally brazen sufficient to have his image excited by the previous premier, Glen Clark, whilst in quest of to open a on line casino,” the CBSA record alleged, regarding Tam. “A number of the 28 folks arrested in reference to the crime cartel in 1999 was once a mortgage shark, Kwok Chung Tam.”

WATCH: Ex-B.C. on line casino employee blows whistle on timeline of alleged cash laundering

Tam was once acquitted on all fees stemming from the 1999 arrest and had fees in a 1998 loan-sharking criticism stayed.

Clark, who stepped down in 1999 in the course of an RCMP investigation of the “Casinogate” scandal, was once acquitted of all fees in 2002.

Clark has reportedly denied any wrongdoing in Casinogate and likewise denied any nefarious connection to Tam. Clark reportedly mentioned that Tam was once simply one of the constituents that he had his image excited by.

Tam allegedly related to ‘drive-by capturing’

Some other surprising allegation within the CBSA information ties Tam to a on line casino gang warfare that spilled onto the streets of Vancouver in July 1997. This was once across the time that Macau gangs allegedly began to launder drug cash at new high-limit baccarat tables in B.C. casinos, in line with a International Information investigation.

“Kwok, police say, attempted to kill rival triad chief Tong Sang Lai in a drive-by capturing,” Tam’s CBSA report says.

Former B.C. casino supervisor blows whistle on when Macau-style money laundering may have exploded

In any other electronic mail filed with the federal courtroom, CBSA enforcement officer Cheryl Shapka mentioned she believed Tam was once in the back of the tried hit at the rival gang member.

“The attention-grabbing reality I realized on this entire factor is that Tam is the one that allegedly attempted to do Lai, an enduring resident I’m additionally operating on,” she mentioned. “Tam is Large Circle Boys, as you realize, Lai is the pinnacle of the Wo On Lok Triad out of Macau.”

Lai was once no longer killed within the assault. He was once, alternatively, deported in 2017.

Consistent with a record from the Canadian Press, Lai argued that corrupt police in Macau falsely labelled him as a triad chief.

WATCH: Have been B.C. on line casino group of workers related to money-laundering suspects?

However proof accumulated all through a clandestine police investigation within the past due ’90s alleged differently.

Experiences from the Vancouver Solar and the Canadian Press — which related Lai to arranged crime in accordance with police wiretaps and immigration hearings — detailed a on line casino turf warfare in Macau that unfold to Vancouver. This integrated proof of a $1-million contract put on Lai’s head.

Wiretaps have additionally been used to hyperlink Tam to arranged crime.

In 2009, on account of an immigration listening to, Tam’s alleged affiliate Yi Feng Wu was once ordered deported on account of his alleged association as a high-ranking member of the Large Circle Boys.

A CBSA officer who reviewed Wu’s report later used data equipped all through the 2009 listening to to claim Tam “inadmissible” to Canada.

“RCMP St-Sgt. Hiller claimed that all through Venture Version within the mid-90s, wiretap conversations indicated that Mr. Tam equipped heroin to Mr. Wu,” wrote the CBSA enforcement officer in accordance with his assessment of proof equipped all through Wu’s 2009 immigration listening to.

“Det. Fisher with the (Vancouver Police Division) said that Mr. Tam is a identified member of the Large Circle Boys … curious about uploading opium, mortgage sharking and heroin trafficking,” the CBSA record mentioned.

Consistent with the CBSA, the immigration officer additionally dominated that it was once “affordable” in accordance with the proof equipped to conclude that Wu — together with Tam — had been contributors of the Large Circle Boys.

Photo of Kwok Chung Tam’s allegedly fraudulent People’s Republic of China passport seized by Canadian law enforcement on Jan. 31, 2006.

Photograph of Kwok Chung Tam’s allegedly fraudulent Other people’s Republic of China passport seized by way of Canadian legislation enforcement on Jan. 31, 2006.

Federal courtroom information

Tam has denied those claims.

In a 2016 affidavit, Tam mentioned he was once by no means given a possibility to reply to the CBSA’s record alleging he was once “inadmissible” in accordance with arranged crime.

Had he been given this opportunity, Tam claimed he “would have equipped proof to turn that this knowledge is mistaken.”

The RCMP, in the meantime, didn’t reply to questions on allegations contained in Tam’s report.

“The RCMP does no longer touch upon attainable or ongoing investigations,” mentioned RCMP spokesperson Michelle Schmidt.

The CBSA additionally didn’t reply in time for e-newsletter.

Tam fights to stick in Canada

For just about so long as he’s lived in Canada, cops had been seeking to deport Tam.

He’s had no less than one failed refugee declare, two destructive everlasting residency selections and two deportation orders issued in opposition to him since coming to Canada greater than 3 many years in the past.

The primary of Tam’s deportation orders was once issued in October 1993, courtroom data display. The newest, in accordance with his prison convictions, was once issued in June 2014.

WATCH: Cash laundering flowing via back-door channels in B.C. casinos

All the way through this time, police had carried out raids on Tam’s properties, through which they declare to have discovered semi-automatic handguns and different guns, uncooked heroin, drug presses, “luggage” and “buckets” full of money, plus different boulevard medicine value loads of 1000’s of greenbacks.

In spite of all this, Division of Justice attorneys, operating on behalf of the immigration minister, struck two separate offers with Tam between June 2016 and November 2017.

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The primary of those offers gave Tam any other shot at changing into an enduring resident in Canada after his 1998 utility to stick on “humanitarian and compassionate” grounds was once denied on account of his prison previous.

The officer who denied his declare cited Tam’s 2010 prison convictions, plus his alleged involvement with arranged crime.

However in line with Tam’s legal professional, the federal government unfairly mentioned Tam’s alleged connections to arranged crime when denying his residency utility.

WATCH: Cash laundering investigation will return so far as wanted: Horgan

Phrases of the second one deal are unknown. However like the primary, it concerned a agreement between Tam and the federal government in an utility to check a destructive immigration choice.

The place of business of Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen did remark at the allegations contained within the federal courtroom information.

The federal government additionally didn’t ascertain Tam’s present standing in Canada.

Former B.C. casino supervisor blows whistle on when Macau-style money laundering may have exploded

Mathieu Genest, a spokesperson for Hussen, did, alternatively, say the federal government is “dedicated to the security and safety of Canadians,” including that, for privateness causes, he can not touch upon a selected case.

“Everlasting citizens who’re discovered to be inadmissible for severe criminal activity below Canada’s immigration regulations would possibly lose their standing and feature to go away the rustic upon finishing touch of a sentence,” Genest mentioned.

Rich refugee to alleged gangster

Tam arrived in Vancouver as a rich refugee claimant in December 1988.

Court docket data — which come with copies of Tam’s 1996 failed refugee choice — display he despatched his then-wife, Chui Lin Yip, greater than $500,000 “in more than a few phases via a pal living in Hong Kong” to a checking account in Vancouver earlier than coming to Canada.

Yip, who arrived in Vancouver with the couple’s one-year-old daughter and claimed refugee coverage 5 months earlier than Tam, additionally has more than one prison convictions in Canada. Consistent with courtroom information, those come with convictions for extortion and bank card fraud within the early 1990s, plus a responsible plea for the ownership of belongings acquired via extortion in 2001.

The data additionally display Yip claimed she didn’t have a passport when getting into Canada.

However a next police raid of the couple’s domestic — carried out at the grounds that Yip was once suspected of “production false identity paperwork” — printed she did have a passport, in line with the immigration professional who denied Yip’s refugee declare.

WATCH: Have been B.C. on line casino group of workers related to money-laundering suspects?

As for his or her wealth, Tam claimed the cash he despatched Yip earlier than arriving in Canada was once earned by way of promoting his circle of relatives’s property in southern China, data display. This integrated a hair salon, a pool corridor and a T-shirt manufacturing unit.

However as early as 1991, Canadian immigration officers had been acutely aware of Tam’s alleged “prison endeavours” and his rising actual property footprint in Vancouver.

“In Canada lower than 4 years as refugee claimant — owns following houses mortgage-free even supposing he has no longer labored and declared no (non-public) wealth,” a citizen and immigration memo mentioned.

The document lists two properties in Vancouver and one in Burnaby, “Sunning Auto Gross sales” in Vancouver and “a large number of automobiles, together with a number of late-model BMWs/Mercedes.”

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Immigration information additionally display Tam was once focused for alleged “heroin importation/trafficking” as a part of the RCMP’s Venture Chase within the early 1990s.

Tam was once “closely curious about alien smuggling, bank card fraud, unlawful playing and guns,” the record alleged.

Through 1998, Tam and Yip claimed to have greater than $2 million in property, in line with a letter from their legal professional.

Alleged mortgage sharking and auto gross sales

Tam, in his personal data, claimed that his possession all through the 1990s of Sunning Auto Gross sales in Vancouver made him a valid businessman, partially as a result of he hired Canadian citizens.

However it was once additionally a part of a casino-lending scheme involving mortgage sharking, actual property and shipments of B.C. automobiles to Hong Kong and China, in line with allegations contained within the federal data.

“Topic owns a automotive dealership, his vehicles had been equipped by way of extortion,” a CBSA enforcement officer alleged in an electronic mail. “He and his minions hang around at casinos and manner fellow Chinese language who want $$$ for having a bet and provides them loans at mortgage shark charges … Then after they can not pay … collects their vehicles and in a single case, the home. Used to be just lately arrested for extortion.”

WATCH: International investigation raises more cash laundering issues

The e-mail refers to a 1998 raid of Tam’s Burnaby domestic that stemmed from a loan-sharking criticism.

Within the case, data allege, a 60-year-old lady borrowed $15,000 from Tam to gamble at an rate of interest of 10 according to cent a week. She signed over her Mercedes as safety, and when she misplaced her bets and may no longer pay the cash again, the sharks seized her automotive.

However the lady was once nonetheless in debt so Yip, together with two different buddies, attended her domestic and ordered her to pay again the “boss,” in line with the allegations.

‘Pissed off’: How Port Coquitlam’s mayor feels with no money laundering inquiry amid new allegations

Immigration information additionally allege that considered one of Tam’s subordinates “threatened to kill” the girl until she signed over her furnishings to Yip, which she did. A transferring truck was once then despatched to her domestic and “mountains” of Chinese language rosewood furnishings had been packed up, in line with the record.

It was once in connection to those allegations that Yip pleaded responsible in 2001 to ownership of belongings acquired via extortion.

Police performed a seek warrant on Yip and Tam’s domestic and claimed to have discovered over $200,000 in uncashed cheques written out to Tam from alleged extortion sufferers, together with Walther PPK and Ruger semi-automatic pistols, a silencer, a Taser and ammunition.

“Along with the stolen items and guns, a pound of uncooked heroin and caches used to stamp heroin on the market declaring it was once 100 according to cent natural” had been discovered and seized, in line with CBSA’s Shapka.

As past due as 2007, Shapka was once nonetheless probing Tam’s alleged connections to arranged crime.

“VPD discovered and seized a complete bunch of pictures taken of Tam, together with one the place Tam was once shaking (Glen) Clark’s hand in his place of business and one the place Tam was once shaking fingers or status with the King of Thailand,” Shapka wrote in an electronic mail.

Shapka mentioned she had in my view noticed the footage, and “I do know numerous other folks noticed the footage. Do you could have any concept what took place to them?”

© 2019 International Information, a department of Corus Leisure Inc.

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