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Vancouver Police Foundation returns donation from community group linked to CCP police station probes

Posted By March 4, 2024 No Comments

People’s Liberation Army vet with financial ties to PM Justin Trudeau raised questions for Vancouver Police funding body

Rongxiang “Tiger” Yuan speaks at event attended by NDP and Liberal politicians and united front groups Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations and Canada China Cultural Communication Association: Photo courtesy of the authors of Mosaic Effect.

(Written by Sam Cooper. Originally published here in The Bureau, republished with permission.)

The Vancouver Police Foundation has returned a $5,000 donation linked to a high-rolling People’s Liberation Army hero and a community group with leaders targeted in RCMP investigations into Chinese police stations in Vancouver.

The Chinese army veteran, Rongxiang “Tiger” Yuan — who was cited for millions in suspicious cash transfers in British Columbia’s money laundering inquiry — also has financial ties to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau via a 2016 Liberal Party fundraiser in Vancouver that reportedly flooded $67,500 to Trudeau’s personal riding association in Montreal.

In response to questions fromThe Bureau this week, Vancouver Police Foundation confirmed it has returned a $5,000 donation to Canada China Cultural Communication Association (CCCCA) after the police foundation faced questions about Tiger Yuan, the high-ranking former PLA officer targeted in B.C. government casino money laundering probes.

“In mid-March of 2023, the Foundation received a request from a journalist regarding the membership of Rongxiang “Tiger” Yuan within the CCCCA and his alleged ties to the Chinese Communist Party and alleged political interference in Canada,” executive director Andrea Wright stated. “As a result of this media request, we became aware of the unauthorized use of our logo by the CCCCA.”

Photos and documents obtained byThe Bureau show that Tiger Yuan and several leaders from a related group — Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations (CACA) — were pictured with Vancouver Police Foundation logos that apparently credited them for funding Canadian police operations.

CACA is an umbrella group for over 100 Vancouver community associations with official ties to Beijing’s United Front Work Department and its Overseas Chinese Affairs Office.

These two Chinese Communist organs direct espionage and repression against Canada’s diaspora communities in a “massive operation” involving People’s Liberation Army intelligence handlers, according to an August 2023 Canadian Immigration Board ruling.

As Global News first reported in December 2023, several CACA leaders have been questioned in RCMP’s investigation of alleged Chinese police stations in Vancouver. RCMP hasn’t commented on the progress of its investigation.

Andrea Wright said the Foundation wasn’t aware of RCMP investigations of CACA members and the Foundation didn’t investigate allegations against Rongxiang Yuan, but still decided to return CCCCA’s funds.

“Due to the potential for this donation to distract from the important community-building and engagement work of the Vancouver Police Department [which is] funded by the VPF,” Wright said, “the VPF decided to return the $5,000 donation and to not accept any additional gifts from the CCCCA or any related organization.”

Cullen Commission documents show Tiger Yuan was investigated by B.C.’s Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch for suspicious cash-transactions totalling $4.19 million at British Columbia’s River Rock Casino in 2015.

But Yuan, who is called a Chinese Communist military hero in People’s Liberation Army documents reviewed by The Bureau, denies any involvement in criminal activity in Canada.

While the Vancouver Police Department has now distanced itself from Tiger Yuan and related Chinese community donors, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C Premier David Eby, evidently have not.

CCCCA donation photo in Vancouver Police Department courtesy of Mosaic Effect authors.

Trudeau Fundraiser with Tiger Yuan

One night in June 2016 Tiger Yuan sat beside Prime Minister Trudeau enjoying a steak as Trudeau sipped beer.

Beside them was Raymond Chan, former Liberal minister of multiculturalism and a big fundraiser for the party in Vancouver.

The Prime Minister and PLA hero were the stars at a private fundraiser for Justin Trudeau, surrounded by Chinese nationals wearing red Liberal Party of Canada buttons.

Yuan declares himself a real estate developer but in 2016 he also owned Tiger Arms, a Vancouver gun dealer cited in RCMP investigation documents.

And while the crowd that night included others with overt ties to Beijing’s United Front Work Department, this didn’t stop Trudeau from opening his coffers wide.

Days after the June 2016 fundraiser over $65,000 flooded into Trudeau’s Papineau Federal Liberal Association, from over 40 Vancouver-area donors. Four of those donations reportedly came from directors of Tiger Arms.

Le Devoir, reporting on these Vancouver donations and also Trudeau’s 2016 meeting with a related group of pro-Beijing businessmen in Toronto, noted that “immediately” after funds flowed to Trudeau from Vancouver, Ottawa approved a banking charter for Wealth One Bank.

This business is run by men in Toronto and Vancouver directly linked to United Front Work Department groups in Canada, according to Chinese-language records. The Globe and Mail reported last year the bank now faces money laundering investigations and CSIS national security probes.

Photos of Justin Trudeau fundraiser with Tiger Yuan courtesy of Mosaic Effect authors.

In response to questions about these donations from Tiger Yuan and related Chinese businessmen in Toronto Liberal Party spokesman Matteo Rossi wrote: “As noted in our earlier responses, the individuals that you’ve referenced do not have any role within the Liberal Party of Canada.”

A recent Canadian immigration board ruling dealing with alleged Chinese espionage networks says Beijing’s United Front subsumed China’s Overseas Affairs Office in 2018, and these organs run massive lower-level intelligence operations aimed at leveraging diaspora communities.

But within these networks of Beijing’s united front, People’s Liberation Army and Ministry of State Security agents manage co-opted community members through threats and inducements, and direct high-level espionage operations.

“The People’s Liberation Army and Ministry of State Security units recruit potential candidates for intelligence gathering before they leave China or offer favours for their co-operation,” the August 2023 ruling says. “Once abroad, handlers with links to these units cultivate relations with them through Chinese friendship and cultural groups.”

Premier David Eby ties to united front entities

Information about CCCCA’s Vancouver Police Foundation donation has been pieced together by researchers over the past four years, as troubling signs surfaced in Chinese language reports that seemed to suggest Tiger Yuan and his associates had ties to Vancouver Police.

It may have been confusing for diaspora members that only read Mandarin-language media, that some of Yuan’s close associates seemed to be involved in activities consistent with repression and monitoring of Hong Kong Canadians.

One Yuan associate, a CACA leader and Vancouver Police Foundation donor, for example, was video-recorded by reporter Bob Mackin in 2019 with numerous CACA members aggressively surrounding Hong Kong democracy activists that took refuge in a Vancouver church.

The Hong Kong Canadians worried that people in the CACA group, which included several Chinese state-linked journalists, photographed them in threatening ways.

Another of Yuan’s close associates is repeatedly and erroneously claimed to be a Vancouver Police officer in Chinese media reports that show him posing with Yuan.

Adding to the confusion, in 2017, this man that feigns ties to Vancouver Police Department, served as B.C. NDP campaign director for another of Tiger Yuan’s close associates, Burnaby city councillor James Wang. He was pictured with Premier John Horgan at campaign events, Chinese media reports show.

Photo left of CCCCA/CACA leader courtesy of Mosaic Effect authors. Photo right from Bob Mackin.

Chinese state records and photographs reviewed by The Bureau show that Tiger Yuan and his associates are also involved with media entities in Vancouver that attend United Front Work Department meetings.

Photos and reports from these Vancouver media entities show that Premier David Eby frequently meets with associates of Tiger Yuan, and that Eby is personally advised by one of Tiger Yuan’s united front-linked media associates, a community leader and columnist named Ding Guo.

Meanwhile, in January 2023 at the River Rock Casino — for a community fundraiser event with China’s Consul General — Tiger Yuan was at the head table with Richmond NDP MLA Henry Yao and two NDP ministers, George Chow and Anne Kang.

Also reportedly there were Senator Yuen Pau Woo and Richmond Liberal MP Parm Bains and Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie.

Henry Yao tweeted selfies and wrote: “I want to thank Canada China Cultural Communication Association … so glad to see different organizations … fundraising for Vancouver Police Foundation.”

Henry Yao’s office didn’t respond to a question for this story.