Spa club owner named in money laundering allegations

The man who is central to a money laundering investigation by the RCMP, as reported by Postmedia last month, was also the owner and manager of an illicit massage parlour that was shut down by the City of Richmond in 2011 during a high-profile investigation by city licence inspectors and police.

Paul King Jin is alleged in documents obtained by Postmedia to be the go between for Chinese “whale” gamblers and drug cartels. From 2009 to 2011, he was also the focus of a series of City of Richmond inspections that led to his spa business Water Club at Radisson Hotel (Watercube Vancouver Health Club Ltd.), being shut down in December 2011.

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According to a Postmedia report, Jin is alleged to have used his connections to drug dealers to fund Chinese gamblers intent on cleaning their own money via an illegal, underground banking system. Subsequent reports show how laundered money is ending up in the real estate sector. 

Postmedia unveiled an RCMP operation dubbed E-Pirate that included 10 raids in Richmond on Oct. 15, 2015. One raid was on Cooney Road at Silver International Investment, an alleged front for underground banking that funnelled money between Mexican drug dealers and ultra-wealthy Chinese gamblers trying to shirk capital controls in China.

Jin’s drug connections are allegedly related to his Richmond spa.

In 2011, the Richmond News reported Water Club had its business licence cancelled for 60 days. Then, police officers intercepted clients leaving the club, located on the hotel’s penthouse floor, who were identified as high-level drug traffickers. The clients confirmed to the officers that they were in the club and claimed to have received foot massages.

But police also reported to city council that on separate occasions they found the likes of lubrication and used condoms on the site. During one inspection, a male client admitted to having unpaid sex with a club employee, according to a city report.

Members of the Richmond Gang Enforcement Team even entered the club on one occasion, after spotting licence plates of known gang associates in the hotel’s parking lot.

Many of the inspection raids at Water Club were prompted by calls from hotel staff, who got fed up with what appeared to be underage Asian females, whom they understood to be prostitutes, heading up to the club armed with alcohol during the early hours.

City inspectors took photos of the spa, including one of a gaming table, according to the report to council.

Jin’s lawyer at the time, David Tarnow, noted three business partners lived in China.

Copies of the business’ registration in 2011 showed Jin appeared to remove himself as a director of Watercube. 

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© Richmond News

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