On a country road in British Columbia’s Chilliwack Valley, a Chinese VIP gambler has spent years constructing a compound of incredible wealth, according to witnesses and sources with access to police intelligence.
If it was in Colombia or Mexico, the secluded five-acre property on Chadsey Road might pass for the set of a Netflix narcos drama.
There are neat rows of Maples and landscaped gardens, a large pond dissected by a floating walkway to an island as big as a putting green, and paved roads that wind between a massive French-style mansion, an equally massive warehouse and, in a far corner of the farm acreage, a barn.
WATCH: The B.C. compound police believe may be connected to “transnational drug trafficking”
No expense was spared in constructing the compound buildings, according to sources, and it is estimated the buildings store tens of millions of dollars worth of luxury cars, art and weapons.
The VIP who built the Chilliwack compound, and is related to the woman who owns it, according to B.C. property records, is 56-year-old Rongxiang “Tiger” Yuan.
Yuan is one of the so-called “whale” gamblers that investigators have connected to alleged massive cash deliveries at Richmond’s River Rock Casino from 51-year-old Paul King Jin, according to allegations in 2015 Lottery Corp. investigation documents.
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Jin is the primary target of RCMP investigations, and police suspect Jin’s cash deliveries to high-rollers were related to “transnational drug trafficking,” the documents allege.
According to police sources, RCMP suspect a Chinese transnational gang connected to Jin and his associates are dominating the deadly fentanyl trade in Canada, and they are laundering criminal proceeds in Metro Vancouver casinos, real estate, and luxury vehicles.
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Jin has not responded to questions from Global News about the allegations. Several of Jin’s alleged associates were charged in October 2017. But on Nov. 22, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada decided to stay the charges against them. The decision came two days after Global News asked for an update on the case. But the Service would not comment, and referred questions about Jin and the investigation to the RCMP.
A statement from the RCMP Wednesday said their investigation started in April 2015, and “focused on an organized crime group believed to be laundering large amounts of cash through British Columbian casinos.”
“Charges were stayed for several reasons that materialized during the course of the file; the nature of which will not be discussed … given operational sensitivities.”
The RCMP said it “is conducting a full scale review to understand its activities which contributed to this stay … (and) remains committed to combating money laundering and financial crime.”
Sources with knowledge of Tiger Yuan and his associates said it is claimed that he made his fortune in China as one of the world’s biggest aluminum exporters.
“Tiger is in ‘mining’ or ‘restaurants,’ depending on who you ask,” one source said.
“There is a property on Chadsey Road that was built by a high roller gambler who regularly cashed in $200,000 to $300,000 at the cash cage at River Rock nightly with bags of twenties,” another source with access to RCMP files said. “Police records showed that he was associated to a number of weapons at a Coquitlam-area residence, RCMP was involved, and the weapons were legally moved to another location.”
A source with knowledge of files of FINTRAC, the government’s anti-money laundering agency, said Yuan was connected to $61 million in suspicious transactions in Canada.
Multiple sources with access to police files and knowledge of witness accounts said the wealth revealed inside the Chilliwack compound was stunning.
In underground garages, they say there are mechanical lifts stacked with dozens of high-end and classic cars, including Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and vintage army vehicles.
Sources say compound rooms contained pallets stocked with weapons, including vintage machine guns, and ammunition. Intelligence has linked Yuan to China’s military. And one law enforcement source said concerns remained that Yuan owned both a gun shop in B.C. and one of Canada’s largest personal firearms collections.
“Tiger Arms in Port Coquitlam is one of many firearms retailers that is owned by Chinese nationals or permanent residents. The owner is possibly still a colonel in the PLA,” one source said, using the acronym for the People’s Liberation Army.
“Chadsey is massive. A full firing range below. Huge gun vault upstairs. More than 850 guns.”
Tiger Yuan doesn’t live at the property but he entertains fellow Chinese businessmen and hunting enthusiasts there, sources said.
Global News could not confirm that Tiger Yuan was linked to the Chinese army, and has not yet been able to reach Tiger Yuan for comment on this story.
But in a phone interview, a man who described himself as a manager of Tiger Arms, confirmed much of the information that police sources point to about Tiger Yuan’s background and the Chilliwack compound.
“I have heard from some of his friends that he is a war hero,” said the Tiger Arms employee, who asked not to be named.
The employee said Yuan’s Chilliwack property displays incredible wealth, including up to about 40 high-end cars stored in an underground garage, and that Yuan reportedly became extremely wealthy in aluminum mining.
“I do know he likes to gamble a lot,” the employee said.
WATCH: How organized crime groups launder suspected drug money in B.C. real estate
Yuan spends a lot of time in Mainland China and the United States, and almost never visits his gun shop in Port Coquitlam, the employee said.
One person from Chilliwack claimed to have noticed a lengthy construction project at the Chadsey property, but did not notice any suspicious activity from outside the compound, which is hedged with tall, tightly packed rows of evergreens.
But another source said the gated property was “patrolled by dogs and drones.” Whenever Tiger Yuan was at the property he was constantly accompanied by two young men who opened doors and monitored his interactions with guests, multiple sources with access to RCMP databases and witness accounts said.
Global News asked for an interview with Tiger Yuan so that he could respond to information in this story. A Tiger Arms employee said he did not have Yuan’s phone number, and could only reach Yuan through his young “assistants.” The employee confirmed that one of the assistants has the same name as a man identified to Global News by several sources.
The employee added that he had no knowledge of any police interest in Tiger Yuan.
One source said a third man with a police record and facing a deportation order served as a “meat-shield.” Another said construction materials for the compound were driven onto the property for years, and it was believed a contractor was paid to keep the project going with a steady stream of wire transfers.
According to shipping data, in 2013, during the reported construction period, the property was linked to a shipping container from Beijing that travelled between South Korea and Seattle, carrying about 8,520 kilograms of goods, including “personal items, cabinet, sofa, chairs.”
Meanwhile, according to police intelligence, Tiger Yuan and a number of River Rock Casino VIPs are wildlife hunting enthusiasts in B.C., and Tiger Yuan likes to entertain associates on hunting excursions.
There is no alleged connection to the Chadsey compound, but a Chinese VIP named K.W. was charged in a wildlife poaching case in Hope, which is near Chilliwack. K.W. is cited in Lottery Corp. documents in connection to extreme real estate wealth in Vancouver, and for receiving cash deliveries from Paul Jin’s network in Richmond. According to the documents, in one suspicious transaction, K.W. used $645,000 in cash to “buy in” at River Rock Casino.
In October 2014, K.W. and a companion named Xin Qi were “found to be in possession of a number of carcasses: one moose and a total of seven deer,” in excess of their hunting permits, and “the carcasses were in a state whereby the sex of the animals could not be determined,” court filings say.
K.W.’s companion Qi plead guilty to six counts under the Wildlife Act, and was fined $25,000. B.C.’s Crown prosecutor stayed all charges against K.W.