British Columbia

Notary public found dead in Richmond business, homicide team investigating

Police are investigating after 58-year-old Stephen Chong was found dead inside his business in Richmond, B.C.

Police identify victim as Stephen Chong, say death is suspicious but does not appear to be random

The man’s death was deemed suspicious and the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team was called in to take over the case. (Cory Correia/CBC)

Police are investigating after a notary public was found dead in his office in Richmond, B.C. Friday evening.

Police have identified the victim as Stephen Chong, 58.

Richmond RCMP were called to the business along Granville Avenue near Buswell Street at about 5:30 p.m. PT on Friday. Chong's death was deemed suspicious and the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team was called in to take over the case. 

Not random

"Based on the investigative theory in this initial phase, this does not appear to be a random act," said Sgt. Frank Jang of IHIT. 

The regulatory body for notaries in B.C. said Chong was a notary for 11 years and had an "exemplary" record.

"This is entirely out of the blue," said John Mayr, the executive director of the Society of Notaries Public of B.C. "There is nothing to indicate any kind of suspicious transactions from our perspective."

 

The society does routine audits and random inspections of its members' practices. Notaries can create contracts and legal documents along with other services such as preparing wills and helping with real estate purchases.

Mayr says the society is working with police and taking measures to assign a custodian to Chong's practice, to close his accounts and attend to any unfinished transactions.

Jang said that Chong had no criminal record or known connection to gangs.

Chong had several reviews on Google, most of which were positive about his work as a notary.

Overnight Friday, forensic investigators were at the scene along with police dogs and B.C. Coroners Service. Police are trying to determine a motive for the crime.

Police dogs were on scene overnight. (Cory Correia/CBC)

Anyone with information is asked to call the IHIT information line, or make an anonymous tip through Crime Stoppers.

Mayr says people worried about an outstanding transaction through Chong's business can contact the society.

"It would be highly irregular that any funds were missing and there's no evidence of that at all," said Mayr.

With files from Cory Correia

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