British Columbia

2 key names in B.C. money-laundering probe shot in Richmond restaurant, 1 fatally

A man alleged to be at the centre of an international money-laundering scheme in B.C. was killed in a shooting at restaurant in Richmond, B.C., on Friday, police have confirmed.

Jian Jun Zhu, alleged to have run an underground bank, was killed; associate Paul King Jin injured

2 men shot at a Richmond restaurant on Friday appear to be key players in Vancouver's money laundering world. (Shane MacKichan)

A man alleged to be at the centre of an international money-laundering scheme in B.C. was killed in a shooting at restaurant in Richmond, B.C., on Friday, police have confirmed.

Jian Jun Zhu, 44, died at the Manzo Itamae Japanese restaurant, where he was shot alongside his associate, Paul King Jin.

Jin, who is in his 50s, was injured, treated in hospital and has been released, police say.

"This was a brazen shooting that could have resulted in further victims," said Sgt. Frank Jang of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Unit in a statement.

Jang said both victims were well known to police. Investigators believe the shooting was targeted, but so far see no evidence that it's connected to ongoing gang conflicts in the Lower Mainland.

Underground bank allegations

Both Zhu and Jin were key figures in the RCMP's failed E-Pirate investigation into money laundering that was launched in 2015.

Documents related to E-Pirate alleged that Zhu ran an underground bank that laundered more than $200 million per year.

All charges against Zhu, who denied all wrongdoing, were eventually stayed in November 2018.

Federal prosecutors have refused to provide the reason why money-laundering charges against Silver International Ltd. and its two directors — Zhu and Caixuan Qin — were stayed in late 2018.

Jin was also the subject of subsequent court filings by the B.C. government that claimed he was a high-end loan shark.

Jin, who was banned from casinos by the B.C. Lottery Corp., delivered up to $2 million in cash to clients at coffee shops and other spots in Richmond, according to allegations in BCLC and Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch documents.

In a forfeiture case filed in February 2020, the government asked that a $25,000 bank draft found in Jin's Mercedes and made out to a casino be forfeited as a proceed of crime.

'Vancouver model'

Zhu's alleged underground bank and the methods of moving money came up at the Cullen Commission, which was established in May 2019 to examine and make recommendations on how to combat money laundering in B.C.

An expert panel set up by the B.C. government estimated more than $7 billion in dirty money was laundered in the province in 2018.

During hearings at the Cullen Commission, criminologist Stephen Schneider described the "Vancouver model" used to launder illegal funds from China and revenue from drug trafficking.  

The model, which has since been studied worldwide, involves moving large amounts of funds from China through informal value transfer systems to avoid China's limits on money leaving the country. Once in Canada, those funds are mixed with cash from the drug trade, and the cash is then laundered through B.C. casinos and private mortgages.

Schneider said Silver International Ltd. was at the centre of this operation.

"You wouldn't have the Vancouver model without Silver International and their directors," Schneider said.

IHIT is asking anyone with information on the shooting to call its information line at 1-877-551-4448, or email ihitinfo@rcmp-grc.gc.ca. Those who want to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Investigators are also asking any drivers with dashcam video from the area of Garden City Road between Capstan Way and Cambie Road between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. PT on Friday to contact them. 

There have been nine shootings in the Lower Mainland since Monday.

About the Author

Yvette Brend is a Vancouver journalist. Yvette.Brend@cbc.ca or on Twitter or Instagram @ybrend

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