By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 0 Comments
VANCOUVER – Chinese police had alleged that a man fighting to keep his Canadian…
VANCOUVER – Chinese police had alleged that a man fighting to keep his Canadian residency status ordered the murders of three of his Asian gang rivals before coming to Vancouver, a former visa officer told an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing.
Jean-Paul Delisle told Lai Tong Sang’s hearing Wednesday that several red flag warnings of the man’s organized crime lifestyle came up when he reviewed a file back in the mid-1990s — but the man was still allowed into the country not longer after.
Lai dropped his immigration request in Hong Kong, but made another application in Los Angeles two years later and he and his family were accepted. Seventeen years later, the Canada Border Services Agency is asking the board to find them inadmissible.
Delisle testified he would have clearly informed other immigration officials they were dealing with a “major triad head” from China if he had been notified the man made another request to enter Canada.
“Reliable police sources believed that Mr. Lai had personally ordered the murder of his rival triad head in Macau,” said Delisle, explaining what information he would have relayed to Canadian visa officers who eventually processed the application.
“And while this murder attempt was failed, Mr. Lai was also believed … to have personally ordered the murders of two other triad members that were successful.”
Delisle was a visa officer for 25 years and based in Hong Kong when he was initially tasked with reviewing the man’s visa application.
He learned from a special unit of the Macau police that Lai was known to be the leader of a major Chinese crime syndicate, the Shui Fung, or Water Room gang.
The triad was believed to be engaged in activity such as gambling, prostitution, assault and intimidation.
“He would be passing instructions on to his lieutenants, who would be directing the foot soldiers,” he told the hearing via teleconference. “He would be the one directing all this activity.”
Lai was not present in Vancouver for the hearing, but listened in on the phone from Macau with the help of a translator.
When Lai’s application arrived on his desk in 1994, Delisle said he was facing a backlog that gave him time to check into the man’s background with Macau and Hong Kong police, which he did after noticing several inconsistencies.
“These indicators were that he had a low level of education, had been involved in the construction industry and had high net worth,” Delisle said.
But he wouldn’t have made a final decision on whether to grant Lai the visa until interviewing him. Before that happened, the man withdrew his application, Delisle explained.
Lai was accepted into Canada through the Los Angeles consulate and moved to Vancouver with his family on Oct. 20, 1996.
Under cross-examination, Delisle was asked to explain why a document supplied by the Macau police unit only stated Lai was “alleged” to have ordered the rivals’ murders, who were part of the rival 14K triad.
“Your affidavit is an overstatement of the information you got from the Macau police. Do you disagree?” Lai’s lawyer, Peter Chapman, asked in reference to a second document entered as evidence.
“I do stand by the comment I made about Lai Tong Sang personally ordering the contract,” Delisle replied.
Chapman also asked the visa officer about the standard procedure for applicants seeking to gain entry into Canada during the mid-1990s.
He asked Delisle whether it was improper to withdraw an application, and was told no.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada is arguing that Lai lied about his membership in the criminal organization in order to enter Canada, while they allege his wife and children also misrepresented their immigration status.
The family was excused from attending most of the hearing on Wednesday.
It is expected to wrap up on Thursday, but a decision is not likely until the summer.
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 9:58 PM - 0 Comments
VANCOUVER – An investigation into stolen vehicles being shipped overseas was the first tip…
VANCOUVER – An investigation into stolen vehicles being shipped overseas was the first tip British Columbia police had that an alleged leader of an Asian triad had landed on their shores, fleeing a bloody gang war in Macau, an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing heard Tuesday.
Seventeen years later, Canada Border Services Agency is asking the board to find Lai Tong Sang inadmissible to Canada, on the grounds that he has ties to organized crime.
A former police superintendent told the hearing the stolen vehicle investigation involved a wire tap.
On one end of that wire tap in 1996 was a Hong Kong crime boss; on the other end Wilson Wong, a man considered by police to be the second-in-command of the notorious 14K gang in Canada.
Someone wanted Lai, the purported leader of Macau’s notorious Shui Fong, or Water Room gang, dead.
“The person in Hong Kong was asking if (they) would take the contract. It would put him in good favour if he would take the contract,” testified Patrick Fogarty, the former superintendent of the Co-ordinated Law Enforcement Unit in Vancouver.
At that time, the streets of Macau were a literal shooting gallery as the two groups battled.
The caller was urging Wong’s boss, Simon Chow, to take the HK$1 million contract on Lai. Then began a flurry of activity to find freshly minted Vancouverite.
“It was clearly established that from the perspective of these particular individuals operating in Vancouver that Tong Sang Lai was the head of the Shui Fong,” Fogarty said. “Nobody knows the underworld like the underworld.”
At that point, the joint organized crime unit began Project Fallout to stop Lai’s murder and gather evidence against the conspirators.
They contacted Lai’s family and Lai himself to warn of the threat. Neither co-operated but Lai did move his family to a different home.
Because of the threat, Fogarty said police were able to obtain a warrant for a wiretaps on Lai, Simon Chow and Wilson Wong. What he heard further convinced him that Lai was the head of the Shui Fong, a branch of the Hong Kong-based Wo group, a syndicate with worldwide reach in criminal activity ranging from money laundering to prostitution, the drug trade and human smuggling.
Lai was being briefed regularly on the war in Macau between Shui Fong and the 14K gang there.
“Based on the evidence … I believe that Mr. Lai is the head of the Shui Fong triad out of Macau and left Macau to come to Canada, was being sought by 14K triad’s connections here … and that they were conspiring to find him and kill him,” testified Fogarty.
In July 1997, Lai’s Vancouver area home was the target of a drive-by shooting.
Lai’s lawyer, Peter Chapman, questioned the source of the allegations against Lai. All the information seems to come from the same sources, he suggested.
“The concern is that something starts, say, in Macau, with a corrupt police force, and it can spread almost like a computer virus and take on a life of its own,” Chapman said during his cross examination.
“With all due respect, I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration,” Fogarty replied. “When you have 35 or 40 bodies shootings every day on the street, it’s hard to make that up.”
Lai didn’t attend his admissibility hearing in person. Instead Canadian officials used an international calling card to dial him into the hearing from Macau.
His wife, two daughters and son walked a gauntlet of Chinese-language and English media to attend, though his youngest daughter was granted permission to be absent in order to write university exams.
CBSA is seeking to have all of them deemed inadmissible on the grounds that they misrepresented material facts in their applications for permanent residency.
When news broke in 1997 that Lai had someone gained status in Canada, the immigration minister promised action.
According to reports at the time, Lai originally applied for immigration status to Canada in Hong Kong in 1994 but his application was not approved because of his suspected links to organized crime.
In 1996, Lai applied at the consulate in Los Angeles, where his application was approved without a background check or so much as a phone call to Hong Kong.
He and his family arrived in Vancouver on Oct. 20, 1996.
Board adjudicator Geoff Rempel noted Lai has already filed notice of a charter challenge of the agency’s attempt to remove him. In December, a Federal Court judge dismissed his application for judicial review.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, February 4, 2013 at 3:10 PM - 0 Comments
VANCOUVER – Seventeen years after an alleged Asian organized crime boss was granted permanent…
VANCOUVER – Seventeen years after an alleged Asian organized crime boss was granted permanent resident status in Canada, despite being red-flagged for suspected criminal activities, authorities are trying to send him packing.
The case of Lai Tong Sang scandalized the federal immigration system when it was revealed that the man described by Macau police as the leader of the notorious Wo On Lok gang had been allowed into Canada.
Now Lai, his wife and their three children are scheduled for an admissability hearing later this month, where lawyers for Citizenship and Immigration Canada will argue that Lai lied about his membership in a criminal organization in order to gain entry into the country. Authorities allege his wife and children also misrepresented their immigration status.
Melissa Anderson, a spokeswomen for the Immigration and Refugee Board, confirmed hearings are scheduled over three days beginning Feb. 26 in Vancouver, but she could not comment on why it has taken so long for the case to make its way to a hearing. Continue…
By Erica Alini - Monday, October 3, 2011 at 10:10 AM - 0 Comments
The yakuza stepped in quickly to provide tsunami relief, and are reaping the benefits
Post-earthquake reconstruction in Japan is providing a much-needed boost to the country’s reeling economy–as well as its crime mobs. Whether it’s about removing tonnes of debris from flattened coastal villages or erecting new homes and office buildings, the yakuza, Japan’s entrenched mafia, is reportedly winning lucrative contracts for all sorts of public projects in the aftermath of the March earthquake and tsunami. The mafioso have even stepped in to clear radioactive rubble near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, a task many private ﬁrms have shied away from, according to the Guardian newspaper.
The reason why crime bosses are reaping such profits, many suspect, has much to do with the way the yakuza provided rapid and efficient relief to quake-stricken communities. Hours after the ﬁrst shock waves, unlabelled trucks loaded with “paper diapers, instant ramen, batteries, ﬂashlights, drinks” and other essentials arrived in the hard-hit Ibaraki and Fukushima prefectures, according to Jake Adelstein, a Japan-based journalist and a leading expert on the country’s criminal underworld. Unloading the vehicles were men wearing long sleeves and gloves to conceal tattoos and missing fingers, the classic trademarks of yakuza members. The Sumiyoshi-kai and Inagawa-kai, Japan’s second- and third-largest crime families, were at the forefront of a rescue operation that delivered an estimated $500,000 worth of food and first aid supplies, according to Adelstein.
The maﬁa syndicates, whose regular business includes drug trafﬁcking, extortion, gambling and prostitution, were careful not to openly advertise their charitable activities, Japan-watchers noted. The mobsters didn’t want to irritate the police, who have long been trying to dull the aura of mystery and even heroism that often surrounds bosses and their strongmen in the eyes of some Japanese. Yet the yakuza’s silent PR efforts did not go to waste. Few quake victims, including local politicians, failed to notice that crime syndicates reached out faster than Tokyo officials. Now, it seems, Japan’s godfathers are getting their payback.
By Chris Sorensen - Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 10:20 AM - 0 Comments
Mortgage fraud is easy, common and lucrative. And in Canada, more often than not, it is left unchecked.
Several years ago, the Bank of Montreal first noticed what it described as “irregularities” in some mortgages sold in Alberta. After conducting an internal investigation, it quietly launched a lawsuit last year that alleged a massive mortgage fraud scheme involving hundreds of people, ranging from lawyers to mortgage brokers and four of the bank’s own employees—even a Calgary MP. It also hired a forensic accounting firm to try to trace the funds. BMO claims it advanced a total of about $70 million in mortgage funds to the scheme’s architects, with its losses estimated at $30 million.
Those who work in Canada’s mortgage lending industry described the case, which only came to light earlier this year, as unusual—not because mortgage fraud is rare in Canada (police say it’s not), but because of the size and sophistication of the operation, which involved as many as 14 different interconnected groups.
BMO’s decision to file a lawsuit (in a bid to recoup its money) is also seen as an oddity, with some suggesting that banks and other lending institutions are reluctant to talk about what is believed to be a relatively easy—and lucrative—crime to commit. “If you’re a bank with 1,200 branches, they would probably say that by talking about it, they’re going to educate people on how to pull off a fraud,” says Gerald Soloway, the chief executive of Home Capital Group, which sells mortgages in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia. “I happen to feel that it is a big problem. And I, for one, would like to see more resources devoted to trying to stamp it out.”
By Katie Engelhart - Monday, June 7, 2010 at 11:23 AM - 102 Comments
They’re already ‘the greatest organized crime threat to the U.S.’
When councilman Beto O’Rourke looks out the 10th-floor window of the El Paso, Texas, city hall, he sees a fence: “a big, ugly, Berlin-style fence. It’s disgusting.” The structure separates dusty El Paso from its proximal sister city: Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, which is, by all accounts, under siege. More than 850 people were killed in the northern Chihuahua city this year, nearly all of them in drug cartel-related violence. “Juárez has become the deadliest city in the world,” O’Rourke insists. “It’s a crazy, f–ked up situation.”
In response, the Obama administration announced last week that it will send 1,200 National Guard troops to patrol along the southwest border—this just weeks after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano agreed to dispatch aerial drones to prowl the Texas skies. Four decades after the U.S. launched its “war on drugs,” battle lines are hardening. But the new initiatives may be a case of too little, too late. While most eyes have been focused on the violence in Mexico—some 23,000 people have died since 2006 as drug cartels vie for control in places such as Juárez and Tijuana along the U.S. border, battling each other and the Mexican authorities who are trying to stamp them out—there has already been a more dire development: the push by cartels into the United States itself.
By Michael Petrou - Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 10:30 AM - 3 Comments
Powerful drug cartels are challenging the government’s control of parts of the nation
Silver or lead? It is an offer that is difficult, if not impossible, to refuse for thousands of Mexican police, judges, and politicians tasked with confronting Mexico’s powerful drug cartels. The silver is bribe money. Lead is a bullet to the head—if the victim is lucky. The murders of uncooperative justice officials, and others who cross the cartels, have become increasingly gruesome of late. Beheadings are common.
For decades, during the 70 years that Mexico was effectively a one-party state run by the Institutional Revolutionary Party, a tacit understanding existed between drug cartels and members of all levels of government and state institutions that it was better to choose the silver. This does not mean that everyone from the president on down was on the take. But there was a pervasive lack of political will to confront the cartels, and when drug lords could count on politicians staying in office regardless of how many elections they might face, it made sense to seek mutually beneficial arrangements. Continue…
By Susan Mohammad - Monday, November 24, 2008 at 9:40 AM - 1 Comment
Alperon died on Monday after a bomb detonated under his car
There were fears that Tel Aviv could be plunged into an all-out mob war after the patriarch of one of Israel’s most powerful crime families was assassinated in a midday attack. Yaakov Alperon (also called Don Alperon) died Monday after a bomb detonated under his rental car, also injuring three bystanders. The explosion was apparently set off by remote control; the bomb was likely planted earlier while the 53-year-old was inside the city courthouse where one of his sons was facing extortion and assault charges. Continue…
By Andrew Potter - Friday, May 16, 2008 at 10:54 AM - 0 Comments
Making the rounds is this cool little piece from Foreign Policy magazine, listing the…
Making the rounds is this cool little piece from Foreign Policy magazine, listing the world’s most dangerous gangs. Forget about the Triads or the Cosa Nostra, they’re wusses. The badasses of the world now are the Kikuyu (who recently went berserk in Kenya) and the prison gangs of Sao Paolo.
If you like this sort of stuff, definitely check out Manda Bala, a very awesome documentary about crime and corruption in Brazil, especially Sao Paolo. It weaves together a number of stories — plastic surgeon who makes ears for people who have had theirs cut off by kidnappers; a thug who swtiched to kidnapping because he got tired of having to rob 30 banks a month; a software dude who rides around in a bullet-proof Porsche 911; and a frog farmer who…. well, you need to see it.