The Richmond farmland mansion that operated as an illegal casino has been sold, theBreaker has learned.
On June 29, 2017, the B.C. government’s Director of Civil Forfeiture applied to B.C. Supreme Court to seize 8880 Sidaway Road. The director alleged it had been the site of gambling, booze-fuelled parties and a kidnapping and beating.
The value of the two-acre property and 12,000-square foot mansion was declared at $4.8 million in a May 11 title transfer. It had been assessed at $5.16 million last year. Colin Hynes of the Solicitor General’s communications office told theBreaker that the $2.4 million net sale proceeds are held under the interim preservation order, pending resolution of the ongoing forfeiture litigation.
“To be clear, the case is ongoing and none of these funds have been forfeited to government,” Hynes said.
Lawyers for the government and defendants Wen Feng and Lap San Peter Pang agreed to an April 9 consent order that allowed Feng to use the mansion, but with conditions. There was to be no gambling or unlicensed liquor service, no kidnapping, unlawful confinement or assault or laundering of proceeds of crime.
Feng was, however, allowed to sell the property for fair market value and pay the real estate agent a commission of no more than 7% on the first $100,000 and 2.5% on the balance, plus taxes and disbursements.
“The registered owner must, forthwith upon completion of the sale, pay the sale price less the adjustments into court to the credit of this action,” said the order.
The June 29, 2017 filing stated that B.C. Lottery Corporation was informed in December 2015 that an illegal casino had operated on the premises. Feng was alleged to be a nominee or owner of convenience on behalf of Pang, the true, beneficial owner.
Acting on an anonymous report of a hostage being held at gunpoint in April 2016, RCMP officers found 15 people gambling at tables, with chips and cards, a money counter and video surveillance system. Police also attended the property in late-May 2017 and mid-June 2017, to investigate reports of a stabbing and violent kidnapping, respectively, after injured victims checked-in to Richmond Hospital. Mounties executed a search warrant last June 14.
“By converting the proceeds of unlawful activity into the property, the property was used by the defendants as an instrument of unlawful activity, namely the laundering of proceeds of crime,” said the court filing by government lawyer Michael Lawless against Feng and Pang.
Feng’s Aug. 10, 2017 defence statement claimed she was the beneficial owner who bought the property for investment purposes and that she had never authorized Pang to enter the property. Feng said she agreed to lease it for two years to the Vancouver International Chinese Association in December 2015, but ended the arrangement in May 2016 after she had been informed of illegal activity.
Pang denied all allegations of unlawful activity in his Oct. 5, 2017 response. He emphasized he had not been charged with any crimes arising from police investigations from 2015 to 2017. “The defendant has no legal or equitable interest in the property,” said Pang’s defence statement.
The eight-room, eight-bathroom Sidaway mansion was offered at $5.98 million by Regent Park Fairchild Realty. It is now registered to 1157191 B.C. Ltd., a numbered company whose sole director is Megan Martin with a company address at a $7.57 million mansion on Vancouver’s Southwest Marine Drive.
That Vancouver mansion is in the name of Bo Hong Zhang, the son of Martin and Yuan Sheng Zhang.
Martin, Yuan Sheng Zhang and Bo Hong Zhang are shareholders of Elecrtrameccanica Vehicles Corp. and listed as retired Canadian citizens in a related Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure. In 2015, the family donated $500,000 to the Richmond Hospital Foundation to buy imaging equipment.
City of Richmond spokesman Ted Townsend said there is no permit or application for the Sidaway mansion to operate as a short-term rental.
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