Officials investigating alleged vote buying in Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby

On Friday, the City of Vancouver said messages from the Canada Wenzhou Friendship Society are circulating on the social media app, WeChat, appearing to offer money for voting in Richmond, Burnaby and Vancouver.

Allegations stem from social media app WeChat

The City of Vancouver said messages are circulating on the social media app WeChat that appear to offer money for voting in Burnaby, Richmond and Vancouver. (Petar Kujundzic/Reuters)

Officials are investigating allegations of voter manipulation in Richmond, Burnaby and Vancouver, B.C. after messages from the Canada Wenzhou Friendship Society sent out on the social media app WeChat appeared to be offering money for voting in those three cities.

The City of Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby are all conducting investigations and the matter has been referred to Vancouver Police.

Calls and emails to the Canada Wenzhou Friendship Society were not returned.

Messages from the Canada Wenzhou Friendship Society sent out on the social media app WeChat appeared to be offering money for voting in three cities. (Provided by The Richmond News)

It is illegal to pay for votes or provide any kind of inducement to vote, according to section 123 of the Vancouver Charter. Penalties range from a $10,000 fine, two years in jail and a maximum seven-year prohibition on holding elected office.

Richmond RCMP said it's aware of two allegations stemming from WeChat. 

"We are asking that if you [have] been approached with possible enticements pertaining to any portion of the voting process, please report it to us directly," Cpl. Dennis Hwang wrote in a statement.

According to its website, the Canada Wenzhou Friendship Society "is a big family for all people originated [in] Wenzhou city, their family members and relatives in Canada."

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