Canada, and especially Vancouver, has become a “global node” of the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to infiltrate democratic societies, according to investigative journalist and author Sam Cooper.
Cooper, whose new book “Wilful Blindness: How a Network of Narcos, Tycoons and CCP Agents Infiltrated the West” was released in May, says the CCP pursues its goal “through purchases of real estate, through efforts to get into technology companies in Western nations, through the usage of tycoons, industrialists that travel the world, playing baccarat.”
In his book, Cooper reveals how the CCP has been making use of organized crime in Canada to control Chinese-Canadian communities, intimidate and silence dissidents, and cover up the spread of the CCP virus, the novel coronavirus that caused the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The book uncovers the CCP’s link to criminal activity that has fuelled an opioid crisis as well as driven home prices so high as to be unaffordable for many, due to illegal cash proceeds being used to make major real estate investments especially in Vancouver and Toronto. It also exposes how in many cases there were indications that law enforcement officials’ hands were tied due to the “wilful blindness” of elite bureaucrats and politicians.
“If I had a source from CSIS [the Canadian Security Intelligence Service] beside me in this interview, I believe they would say Canada is in deep trouble,” Cooper said during an interview with The Epoch Times’ “American Thought Leaders” program.
CCP’s United Front Toolbox
Cooper says Beijing has been using its United Front Work Department to achieve its goals overseas.
The organization consists of a network of political operations that the CCP uses to influence and control individuals, gather intelligence, and advance its interests in foreign countries. Cooper described it as being based on a racist ideology that seeks to control all ethnic Chinese people worldwide.
Cooper also found that since the earliest days of the CCP’s rise to power in China, it has been employing violent gangs, crime bosses, and criminal organizations—notably the Mafia-like Hong Kong triad societies—to further its agenda.
Before control of Hong Kong was transferred from Britain to China, Cooper said, Beijing sent emissaries to Hong Kong to tell the tycoons there: “‘We know that you’re doing business with heroin syndicates. You’re free to do your business, but as long as you work with us politically, you help us in our business, and you help us control populations.’”
The United Front is a tool in the Party’s attempts to use its friends against its enemies, to neutralize the middle, and to gain as many people on its side as possible, said Cooper.
There are speculations about the CCP co-opting triad thugs, he said. While it’s difficult to find proof, one example was seen in an incident during the 2019–2020 pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, when men in “white shirts” beat democracy protesters.
“It’s strongly suspected, if not proven, that those are triad thugs co-opted and used by the Party to fulfill the Party’s political objectives,” Cooper said.
Fentanyl and Social Control
When it comes to fentanyl, officials in both Canada and the United States have said that China is the main source of the drug flooding North America, fuelling an overdose crisis plaguing both countries.
Cooper said the Canadian police know the CCP is capable of stopping the production of fentanyl precursors in China within a short time if it so wished, since it has full knowledge of the factory operations and its control is absolute in China. But rather than stopping the supply chains, it used them as bargaining chips with foreign countries.
In exchange for curbing the fentanyl inflow, Beijing tried to negotiate a deal with the RCMP to place Chinese police agents in Canada for the purpose of tracking allegedly corrupt fugitives under the CCP’s so-called “Operation Fox Hunt.” The RCMP turned down this proposal, as it believes certain police liaisons may be linked to Chinese intelligence activities, including those that target overseas Chinese dissidents to stop their activism.
“My book again shows cases where state actors in China are seen to be directing these drug trafficking organizations in Vancouver, intervening in gang conflicts between various Triads,” Cooper said. “So that is proof that someone very powerful in Beijing does control gangs,” he noted, adding, “I can say without a doubt that the influence of the Party comes over and above very high-level transnational gangs.”
Drugs, Casinos, and Money Laundering
Cooper says that the rich tycoons and other actors used by the CCP are not just entertaining themselves but also exporting significant capital. Each citizen in communist China has a strict export limit of US$50,000 per year. Wealthy industrialists wanting to move larger sums out of China would, for example, put down a credit in a Chinese bank, then strike a deal with triads to get the cash out in casinos in Macau, and then the money would be free to go abroad.
This model has now been transplanted into Canada, particularly Vancouver, and Toronto as well, where drug trafficking organizations have to find a way to stash away the “warehouses of $20 bills” they’ve raked in, Cooper said. The easiest way is to hire loan sharks to launder that money in casinos, he added.
On the surface, the money transacted in casinos looks like it’s provided by loan sharks for high rollers to gamble, but it could actually include revenues from a drug transaction or funds for political influence operations in Canada.
“They provide these $20 bills—$10,000 bundles wrapped in elastic bands in the manner of street drug trafficking. The VIP gamblers go to the casino cash cage. They get their chips, which have values of up to $5,000. They gamble, and they can receive … a casino cheque that the money laundering can flow from,” Cooper said.
“You can see how quickly you can get a down payment if you have a cheque for $500,000 to buy a home, or simply the $20 are exchanged for clean $100 bills wrapped to Canadian banking standards. And that is just the most simple and apparent way that these volumes of $20 bills are reduced to bankable $100.”
The B.C. provincial government’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch, along with the B.C. Lottery Corporation, oversees the operation of legal casinos. However, Cooper said these regulators for years did not report suspicious transactions as they should.
“B.C.’s government knew these transactions were occurring. They knew the loan sharks were drug traffickers. They knew of all the crime connected, the human trafficking, the prostitution, murders, extortion, and they didn’t stop it. That’s the scandal,” Cooper said.
The government hired lawyer and former RCMP deputy commissioner Peter German to investigate the money-laundering allegations in B.C.’s casinos. When German released his report in 2018, B.C. Attorney General David Eby commented that the “German found they [the government] didn’t effectively detect, prevent or prosecute it—they turned a blind eye to it.”
In response to The Epoch Times request for comment, a B.C. government official, asking to be identified only as a “ministry spokesperson,” stated that the current government, which took office in 2017, acted quickly to disrupt financial crimes and that “it’s probably best to ask directly those involved at that time” concerning Cooper’s investigation.
Of the 48 recommendations German provided in his report, roughly 80 percent has been addressed, the ministry spokesperson told The Epoch Times.
PPE Stockpiling and Pandemic Coverup
As a member of the national investigations team with Global News, Cooper produced a widely circulated article in April 2020 for the news site on China’s PPE (personal protective equipment) stockpiling operation. In the article, he said that in mid-January 2020, when the CCP virus was raging in China, the Chinese consulates in Canada and worldwide issued orders directing local United Front leaders to urge millions of “overseas Chinese” to bulk-purchase N95 masks and ship them to mainland China.
Citing Chinese government data, Cooper wrote that in just six weeks, Beijing imported 2.5 billion pieces of PPE, including over two billion safety masks.
“They knew how serious the pandemic was. They covered it up. The rest of the world was in the dark while they gathered this PPE around the world,” Cooper said.
Cooper also discovered that the leaders of these United Front organizations had connections with the suspects in the Vancouver money-laundering ring. One alleged central figure is Paul King Jin. Reports (pdf) submitted to the Cullen Commission, as well as testimonies before the commission, alleged that Jin was involved in the “Vancouver model” money-laundering operations to benefit wealthy Chinese nationals who are trying to transfer money to Canada from China.
Cooper says that Jin was also involved in the PPE stockpiling operation. In November 2020, Cooper obtained an official Chinese state report—which had been filed by the Shandong Overseas Chinese Assembly Hall in February 2020—stating that the Shandong organization had received “another batch of donated goods” from the Canada Shandong Chinese Business Association. Moreover, the report stated that “Mr. Paul King Jin of the [Canada] World Champion Club enthusiastically donated CAD $20,000.”
The Shandong Overseas China Assembly Hall’s website states that it is a branch of the Shandong United Front.
“Mr. Jin’s sources of income allegedly come from loan sharking, large-scale money laundering. … The allegations are, he’s connected to what the police called the fentanyl kingpins. This is serious organized crime,” Cooper said.
The Epoch Times attempted to obtain comments from Jin and his lawyer but did not receive a response. Jin has denied wrongdoing in the past.
‘Follow the Big Money’
Cooper quotes former Canadian ambassador to China David Mulroney as calling Canada “a very sleepy and naive target” with respect to United Front infiltration, Chinese espionage, and the use of organized crime to go after Canadian politicians, tech companies, and real estate. Former CSIS director Richard Fadden also warned Canadians about the level of compromise in B.C. politics in 2010.
Cooper said his own investigative journey followed what he called “a cardinal rule of good journalism,” which is “to follow the big money, follow the big players, [who] are so prolific that they will be involved in many different activities.”
The threat is clear and considerable, and “I hope that this book leads to inquiries that get deeper into the facts and evidence,” Cooper said of his book.