Hong Guo, a Richmond real estate lawyer who’s being investigated by the Law Society of BC, announced Saturday that she will run for mayor in October’s municipal election.
Guo — who also claims to have had $7.5 million stolen by staff from her company’s trust fund — announced her bid at an event named “Time for Change — Richmond” with an estimated 300 people from 13 social groups in attendance.
She was accompanied by singing, dancing and poetic recitals at the event which took place exclusively in Mandarin, in the absence of any mainstream media.
A video, in which Guo appears, was played at the event, describing Chinese residents in Richmond as people whose “voice is ignored” and whose “rights are obliterated.”
“Look at Richmond. Poor economy, long-term unsolved traffic jam problems, address selection for temporary modular housing, regardless of public opinion, theft, crime and racial discrimination; they all make Chinese residents very anxious,” claimed the video’s narrator, via translation.
“For a long time, Chinese people have been humble, observing discipline and the law. However, the right of equality, happiness and democracy didn’t arrive as expected...
“Only Chinese people can understand what Chinese people want...Today, Richmond politics has finally heard a Chinese voice, Hong Guo.”
When the Richmond News inquired about the video, Guo said she had no idea what content was in this campaign video, which was made by the United Richmond Coalition Association, a group recently formed to help Guo run the campaign.
“I would never say those things. I think the intention of the video maker is good. If people from the Chinese community don’t vote, their rights will be ignored. But the wording is inappropriate,” said Guo.
“The problems I want to address: Tunnel, tax and public safety, will benefit everyone in Richmond,” she added.
But at a March event, Guo gave a speech asking people in the Chinese community “to vote for Chinese candidates to speak on our behalf."
“Nationalism is so prevalent in the world... If we Chinese don’t participate in politics anymore, our basic political rights will be totally ignored; we will become the easy target for bullying,” said Guo at the time, in Mandarin.
Guo confirmed that speech with the News and said its purpose was to raise awareness of voting among the Chinese community, “no matter who they vote for."
"It’s more like an education thing. We have a large Chinese population in Richmond but the voting rate among them is very low.”
Guo said at Saturday’s event that she decided to run for mayor because of what happened after she allegedly lost $7.5 million in company funds, claiming they were stolen by two former employees in 2016 and transferred to China.
Guo accused the RCMP of not taking timely actions to arrest the employees and said her experience showed the “chaos management” running government, police and banking in Richmond.
As for the lost funds, Guo said she has paid back all the money, partly by selling one of her properties.
The Law Society of B.C. confirmed the trust shortage has been repaid. However, the society’s investigation into Guo’s conduct is still ongoing and her practice remains under partial custodianship, according to a spokesperson.