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Trial for alleged Richmond immigration fraudsters crawls through court again

The case kicked off last July and looks set to continue into this summer
Richmond Provincial Court 1
Richmond Provincial Court

The trial for four Richmond residents accused of immigration fraud and the bribing of a Yukon government official is back in court – nine months after it started.

And it seems like the prospect of a verdict in the case is still a long way off, with more dates being set aside in June, once this week’s evidence is heard at Richmond Provincial Court.

Since the trial kicked off last July, it has been plagued by delays, coming back to court another two times – in September 2022 and January 2023.

Four Richmond residents, Tzu Chun Joyce Chang, 49; Qiong Joan Gu, 66; Aillison Shaunt Liu, 31 and Shouzhi Stanley Guo, 38, were charged in December 2020 following a five-year investigation called Project Husky.

The accused are facing allegations involving submitting false immigration documents and misrepresenting 67 people as nominees of the Yukon Business Immigration Nominee program, as well as bribing Yukon government official Ian David Young.

Crown prosecutor Gerry Sair told judge Bonnie Craig on Tuesday morning he expects to conclude the prosecution's case within the day.

But when Craig learned that the prosecution had only sent materials to the defence on Sunday and also this morning, she questioned the timing and referred to the parties' previous concerns about delays to the trial.

"I need everybody to do everything they can to avoid any delay, any further delay, in this trial," she said.

The allegations are said to have taken place in Richmond, Whitehorse, Yuk., and Sydney, N.S. from July 2013 to September 2016.

Young died in November 2020, according to Yukon RCMP.

The next block of trial time is scheduled from June 12 to 15, and then from June 22 to 23 later this summer.

- With files from Maria Rantanen