In a detention review hearing for China's most wanted fugitive, Lai Changxing, federal ministry immigration lawyers made the unusual move of calling a witness to testify on the hearing's first day.
At Monday's hearing a special detective with the Vancouver police's criminal intelligence section testified that a reliable source had seen Lai facilitating an illegal gaming business in Richmond, associating with notorious local loan shark Betty Yan and members of an Asian criminal gang.
Det. Const. James Fisher said his source saw Lai at a home on Gilbert Road in 2009, where he was allegedly facilitating illegal online gambling with players in Macau, China. Fisher said his source confirmed Lai gave players access to Yan, with whom he shared profits from high rates of interest garnered from borrowers. Yan was gunned down outside an illegal Richmond gambling parlour in 2009.
Fisher also said his source saw Lai allegedly with two known members of the Asian crime group the Big Circle Boys, as well as a son-in-law of another known gang member.
One of the conditions of Lai's release in Canada was to not communicate with known criminals. Lai arrived in Canada in 1999 and has been fighting deportation back to China ever since. China has accused him of masterminding a $10-billion importation racket by bribing importation officials.
Lai seemed to have run out of appeals after the Immigration and Refugee Board ordered his removal from Canada earlier this month.
But he will get one last appeal at a hearing on Thursday when his lawyers will argue he can't get a fair trial in China, and that he can't depend on the assurances extracted from the Chinese government by Canada that he will not be tortured or arbitrarily executed.