VANCOUVER - The Immigration and Refugee Board has issued a deportation order against an accused triad kingpin from Macau who may not even be in Canada, after concluding the man is part of the Shui Fong gang and is not admissible under this country's immigration laws.
But Lai Tong Sang's wife and three children, who accompanied him to Canada in 1996, get to stay.
Board adjudicator Geoff Rempel's decision was released Tuesday, after a three-day admissibility hearing in March. Lai did not attend the admissibility hearing in person but called in from Macau.
Lai, who allegedly fled to Vancouver with his family to avoid a bloody turf war, first applied for permanent residence in February 1994. When that application was referred for enhanced criminal checks, he withdrew the application.
The standard of proof in an immigration matter is less than in a criminal court, but Rempel said in his written decision he has reasonable grounds to believe the Shui Fong triad is a criminal organization whose members committed offences such as assaults and homicides that would be indictable in Canada, and Lai was a prominent member.
A Macau police document presented at the admissibility hearing said Lai was elected as "top leader" of the Shui Fong triad in 1995. Lai alleged Macau police are unreliable because they are corrupted, but Rempel said that assumption is irrelevant.
"However, a generalized concern about corruption, per se, does not provide a rationale for concluding that the Macau police provided false information about Mr. Lai," he said.
"No theory or evidence has been presented explaining how such corruption would lead to the production of false information."
Rempel also pointed to wiretapped conversations that took place after Lai came to Canada. The conversations were between someone in Vancouver and someone abroad and were about the turf war between Lai and the leader of another Macau triad, and about a contract on Lai's life.
Rempel said the conversations implicated Lai's involvement with the Shui Fong triad.
"The participants in these conversations, unaware their calls were tapped, were candid in their discussions, clearly implicating Mr. Lai in the triad turf war in Macau, and making elaborate and extensive efforts first to locate Mr. Lai in Vancouver and then to send him a message by arranging the shooting," Rempel said.
The adjudicator was referring to a shooting that took place outside Lai's Vancouver home in 1997.
"There is no plausible explanation for these events, other than the one offered by the (minister of public safety and emergency preparedness) — that Mr. Lai was targeted by a rival triad because of his position in the Shui Fong triad of Macau."
Rempel said he also based his decision about Lai's organized criminality on various publications, which have been criticized by Lai as being sensational and biased.
He dismissed Lai's argument that a finding of inadmissibility would violate his rights to liberty or security. Rempel said Lai, as a non-citizen, does not have an unqualified right to enter or stay in Canada.
The minister of public safety and emergency preparedness had alleged Lai deliberately misrepresented himself as the owner of two companies in Macau when he applied for permanent residency. However, Rempel said Lai had provided documents and tax receipts confirming he was who he said he was.
Lai's wife and children are believed to live in Metro Vancouver.