B.C. Attorney General David Eby says a deadly shooting at a Richmond restaurant on Friday that targeted two men alleged to be major money-launderers is “very disturbing.”
The shooting at the Manzo Itamae Japanese Restaurant left Jian Jun Zhu dead and his associate, Paul King Jin, wounded. Zhu was the subject of a major RCMP investigation into the alleged laundering of as much as $200 million a year.
And Jin is alleged to have been involved in illegal gambling and laundering his criminal proceeds through Zhu’s underground bank — Silver International.
“Incidents like this should really give pause to anyone that thinks money laundering is not worth pursuing (by the authorities) or isn’t connected to violent crimes,” Eby said Sunday.
He said he couldn’t comment further because civil forfeiture lawsuits against Zhu and Jin remain before the courts.
But money-laundering charges against Zhu were stayed in 2018, while the Crown hasn’t approved charges against Jin in a separate probe more than three years after he was arrested and released in the case.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team remained tight-lipped Sunday about the shooting.
B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson said his party will push crime and public safety as a significant election issue if the province goes to the polls this fall. He also said his concerns include the shooting that left Zhu dead, but offered no specifics about what the Liberals would do differently.
There’s never been public explanations by the RCMP or prosecutors as to why the charges were dropped in E-Pirate — B.C.’s largest money-laundering case — or why it has taken so long to decide whether to charge Jin for allegedly earning tens-of-millions of dollars from illegal gambling and loan-sharking.
But the B.C. government did call a public inquiry into money laundering last year, which is underway and due to report back next year.
Retired RCMP Insp. Bruce Ward, who spent two years as the monitoring officer in charge of E-Pirate, said Sunday that the long delay in charge approval “continues to be a significant hindrance to policing and law enforcement strategies to tackle the ongoing threat of organized crime and their continued war on our streets and in our neighbourhoods.”
“We expend months and thousands of personnel hours only to see our targets back on the streets conducting business for years as if nothing had occurred,” Ward said.
Cal Chrustie, a former RCMP transnational crime investigator and now a consultant, said the targeted shooting of two alleged international crime figures “should be a clear message to the Canadian public, anti-money-laundering professionals and government officials that money laundering is not merely a financial threat but is a major public safety and national security threat similar to that experienced in the U.S., U.K. and Australia.”
“There is a question here: Is this a message being sent to the public, including the money-laundering inquiry, on how serious the threat is, something that is known only to those who have been out after dark and engage with these networks?” he said.
The civil forfeiture suit against Zhu, 44, and his spouse, Caixuan Qin, 36, claims that evidence from the E-Pirate probe shows that the couple’s $2.3 million Vancouver home and $2 million in seized cash are proceeds-of-crime and should be forfeited.
Zhu and Qin have denied wrongdoing, arguing in their response that there was no legal basis for the government lawsuit.
The director of civil forfeiture filed a new case in August against Jin, 52, and his wife, Xiaoqi (Apple) Wei, 30, alleging a large, $7.7-million warehouse in Richmond housing a gym and a security company should also be forfeited as a proceed-of-crime. The lawsuit claims Jin has been involved in large-scale money laundering, illegal gambling and loan-sharking since 2012.
Reached by phone Sunday, Wei declined to comment on her husband’s condition or the circumstances of the shooting. “I cannot talk right now,” she said.
Manzo manager Andrew Lai said the restaurant would reopen Tuesday. He also said he couldn’t comment on the circumstances of what happened Friday. “Sorry I can’t. I don’t have any more information,” he said.
The Manzo restaurant was registered as a company in February 2008 by another corporation called F & G Enterprises, according to B.C. corporate records. F&G lists two directors — president Freeman Yu and secretary Ellie Kwok.
The restaurant at the corner of Capstan Way and Garden City was once a popular spot for the UN gang, according to evidence at two B.C. Supreme Court trials. At a Manzo meeting in the fall of 2008, gang members discussed their efforts to murder the Bacon brothers, one former UN-member-turned witness testified. The witness said that at Manzo, he proposed going after lower-level Bacon associates so the Red Scorpion gang would crumble. Others at the meeting agreed and they set bounties — $50,000 for mid-targets, $25,000 for low-level ones and $10,000 for line-workers.
In November 2012, a young man was shot and wounded in a targeted attack outside the same restaurant.
Jin, who is believed to already be out of hospital, has his own connections to the UN gang. When he owned the Water Spa in the Radisson Hotel several years ago, UN gang members would regularly meet there, according to testimony at the same trials. One witness said they discussed business, including their plan to kill the Bacons. Another said the spa days were simply to relax.