Sunday, October 2, 2022

Prominent Canadian Whistleblowers ....2013

 ....the 'Centre for Free Expression'

Prominent Canadian Whistleblowers

The following individuals are testimony to the inadequacy of whistleblower protection in Canada.  All spoke up when they saw wrongdoing that affected the public interest. Many helped expose serious misconduct, incompetence or corruption.

A few  have been recognized and publicly praised for their efforts – but nearly all suffered harsh retribution from their employers as a result of their actions. Their stories demonstrate the importance of whistleblowers and the need for strong legal and institutional protection for them.

This Centre for Free Expression would like to acknowledge the work of David Hutton, CFE Senior Fellow and former Executive Director of FAIR, for making this List possible. The individuals listed here represent a tiny fraction of the Canadian whistleblowers that have raised concerns and, of those, only cases already in the public domain.

Dr. John O'Connor

Dr. John O'Connor, an Alberta doctor, was startled to encounter several cases of a very rare cancer in Fort Chipewyan, in the Athabasca oil patch. His further investigations revealed unusually high rates of cancers among the residents, and he called for a thorough health review of the community. His findings contributed to concerns that oil extraction operations may be contaminating the environment with carcinogenic chemicals.

In what was perceived as an attempt to muzzle him, Health Canada doctors lodged four complaints against O'Connor with his professional body – charges which could have resulted in the loss of his license. Doctors were alarmed by this incident, since such reports from doctors in the field have been vital to the detection of new diseases such as AIDS. Consequently, in 2007 the Canadian Medical Association passed a resolution (#103) calling for whistleblower protection for doctors – apparently to protect them from Health Canada.



Asley Jenkins 

Ashley Jenkins is a nurse who was brought in to oversee rehabilitation of the Rosslyn nursing home in Hamilton, Ontario that had just been evacuated after a disastrous COVID-19 outbreak.  Almost all of the 86 residents and staff were infected, and 16 died. Her task was to correct the shortcomings that had caused this lethal outbreak and prepare the home to reopen.  She soon uncovered a litany of shocking problems, ranging from expired medications, missing medical records, bed bugs and vermin, to insufficient and unqualified staff. The basics of proper care and hygiene were absent, let alone the additional measures required to combat a deadly virus.

Yet the owners, the Martino family, evidently wanted the home reopened immediately, regardless of these problems, and instructed Ashley to lie to a health inspector who turned up unexpectedly. She refused, knowing that this might endanger her job, but she was unwilling to be party to a potentially deadly coverup. In the end, the Rosslyn nursing home remained closed, and six other homes, also run by the Martino family, had their licences revoked by the provincial regulator. 

Ashley Jenkins’ actions undoubtedly saved many lives, but her reward was to be fired, and to face what she believes were reprisals orchestrated by those she exposed, including a confirmed job offer withdrawn without explanation and attempts to have her nursing licence revoked.

Ken Pereira

Ken Pereira was one of the star witnesses in the Charbonneau Commission on corruption in the construction industry. His explosive testimony blew the lid off deep ties between Quebec's largest union and organized crime.

  • Ken Pereira, union whistle-blower, tells his full story in new book | CBC | October 17, 2015​

Organizer who exposed corruption in Quebec's largest construction union says he did it for the common man

  • Hells Angels, Mob ran FTQ construction wing, witness says

Ken Pereira testifies he turned police informant after discovering his life was in danger

Alayne Fleischmann

In late 2006, Alayne Fleischmann, a British Columbia native, witnessed one of the biggest white-collar crimes ever committed in America. While she was working as a deal manager at JPMorgan Chase, she saw the bank knowingly sell “scratch-and-dent loans” to investors without disclosing that they were high risk. 

This fraudulent activity contributed to the 2008 financial crises. Fleischmann was laid off and obligated to sign a confidentiality agreement. She returned to B.C. and had trouble finding work with Chase on her resume. 

In 2012, a Federal prosecutor asked Fleischmann to be a key witness in a lawsuit against Chase. But in May 2014, there was still no follow up from the investigators. In truth, the Justice Department was using her as a bargaining tool to extract money from Chase’s CEO Jamie Dimon. This tactic worked. Dimon paid $9 billion to keep them quiet.

Despite that Fleischmann signed a non-disclosure agreement, could be sued into bankruptcy, and lose her license as a lawyer, she decided to speak up eight years after she left the company in a Rolling Stone article.

In January 2018, she was awarded the Wallenberg-Sugihara Civil Courage Award, which is given to B.C. citizens who have faced personal risk to stand up for human rights.

Alayne Fleischmann said, “It was like watching an old lady get mugged on the street…I can’t sit by any longer…”

  • Lawyer receives civil courage award | Terrace Standard | February 3, 2018

Alayne Fleischmann was presented the Wallenberg-Sugihara Civil Courage Award on Jan. 14, an award given to B.C. connected citizens who have faced significant personal risk to advance human rights…

  • Whistleblower ‘sick’ over JPMorgan’s settlement after financial crisis | Toronto Star | December 17, 2014

Alayne Fleischmann says even with hindsight, she would do it all over again…

Don Garrett​

While carrying out repair work at the Kent prison in BC, Don Garrett, a successful general contractor, was exposed to deadly chrysotile asbestos, along with his work crew, guards and others. This serious incident occurred because the Public Works management responsible for tendering the work hid the presence of asbestos in the work site, even after multiple requests from Garrett for such information. PWGSC even concealed the existence of a 190-page Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) which fully set out all such hazards in the prison. 

When Garrett took his concerns to the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, Mario Dion, little happened for two years, then he received a letter rejecting his claims and stating that there had been no wrongdoing by anyone. In the meantime, Garrett was bankrupted by Public Works’ apparent reprisals, such as refusing to pay him for the work done, and effectively barring him from further government contracts. 

Subsequent events

Garrett continued to fight for justice, obtaining thousands of pages of documentation through access to information, and uncovering the existence of the vital ACM report. In 2014 David Hutton, then executive director of FAIR, undertook an analysis of this case. Hutton concluded that, on the basis of the documentation available, Dion’s investigation was worse than flawed. 

Hutton believes that PSIC effectively made itself party to a cover-up of serious misconduct by Public Works, by concealing vital information from Garrett and other witnesses, by shutting down an investigator who seemed on track to expose the truth, and by concluding with a cursory three-page ‘decision letter’ riddled with errors of fact. This letter dismissed without evidence Garrett’s central allegation – that he was not informed of the asbestos hazard – when in Hutton’s opinion the documentary evidence demonstrates the opposite.

This case is important because raises serious questions regarding the disclosure of asbestos hazards in government buildings across the country, and whether staff and contractors are adequately protected during repair and maintenance work. It also raises serious questions about the performance of PSIC, the agency set up to expose government wrongdoing and to protect whistleblowers.

Sylvie Therrien

In July 2013 Sylvie Therrien was suspended without pay for revealing that she, like other Employment Insurance investigators, was subject to a quota: to achieve savings of nearly $500,000 per year by denying EI benefits to applicants. In order to achieve these quotas, many deserving EI claimants were being harassed and improperly penalized, she said.

Therrien felt that she could not 'send people to the street' in order to meet these arbitrary targets, but was soon perilously close to the street herself. The government fired her for cause, which means that she would receive no EI assistance, and stripped her of her security clearance, rendering her unemployable in the public service. Unable to afford her rent, she found shelter sleeping on a friend's couch.

In October 2013, Therrien filed a complaint to the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, which was created to protect whistle blowers in the aftermath of speaking out. It has been five years and she still hasn’t received a response. 

When Therrien learned that the integrity commissioner wouldn’t investigate her case because it was involved with the labour board, she appealed. In January 2017, the Federal Court of Appeal said the commissioner was able to assess the case, but decided not to.  

Therrien declared bankruptcy earlier this year. 





  • 'Process is torturous': Federal whistleblower says Canada doesn't protect people who speak out | CBC | September 2, 2018

"Canada has the reputation internationally of being the Titanic of whistleblower legislation…"

  • Employment insurance whistleblower still seeking justice three years later | Toronto Star | Jan 31, 2016

Sylvie Therrien, a former EI fraud investigator who spoke out about being pressured to meet savings quotas by reducing payouts, says her ...

  • Whistleblower law does little to protect public servants Hamilton Spectator | Nov 18, 2013

Sylvie Therrien lost her job with Service Canada after telling the media ... OTTAWA Canada's whistleblower law, enacted by Prime Minister ...

  • Suspension of EI whistleblower sets dangerous precedent, critics say | Toronto Star | Jul 22, 2013

Sylvie Therrien leaked documents that revealed federal investigators were told to find $485,000 of Employment Insurance fraud every year.

Dr. Michèle Brill-Edwards

Dr. Michèle Brill-Edwards is a pediatrician and clinical pharmacologist who in 1988 became Health Canada’s senior physician responsible for the regulation of clinical trials and market approvals of prescription drugs.

In 1996 she resigned from Health Canada to speak publicly against the undue influence of the pharmaceutical industry on the drug approval process, and the resulting unreliable decisions endangering human lives.





  • Michele Brill-Edwards | Wikipedia

Michele Brill-Edwards is a Canadian whistle-blower. She is a lecturer and emergency physician in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Ottawa.

  • Critical Dialogue with Dr. Michele Brill-Edwards | | May 20, 2006

Dr. Michele Brill-Edwards, former senior physician with Health Canada shares her first hand experiences with how Big Pharma influences and ...

  • Doctor Flags Dangerous Flaws In Drug Regulation

Dr. Michele Brill-Edwards is a senior physician who spent 15 years with Canada's Health Protection Branch (HPB). She resigned after becoming convinced that ...

Edgar Schmidt

Edgar Schmidt was a senior Justice Department lawyer who became responsible for the legally-required review of new bills to ensure that they comply with the Canadian Charter and Bill of Rights.

Schmidt found that for the past 20 years the department's instructions to its lawyers had effectively gutted this provision, allowing laws to be enacted that may infringe upon Canadians' fundamental rights.

In 2013 he took his own department to court, calling for clarification of his duty to uphold the law in the face of his bosses' instructions to the contrary.





Federal Court rules on case of whistleblower Edgar Schmidt ... 2 regarding the case of Edgar Schmidt, a former Justice Department lawyer who ...

  • The whistleblower | National  | Nov 2013

Edgar Schmidt sued his own ministry over its process for vetting legislation, exposing the ethical conundrums that government lawyers face. ... He had raised the issue over a 10-year period with higher-ups, including the deputy minister of justice and the chief legislative counsel.

  • Government whistleblower just doing 'the right thing' | Global News | Apr 3, 2013

It used to be his cottage, but now Edgar Schmidt calls the three-storey white pine loft his home. The 60-year-old lawyer relocated to ...

  • Feds ordered to pay legal costs for Justice Department whistleblower | | Mar 8, 2013

A federal judge has ordered the government to cover the legal expenses of Edgar Schmidt, a lawyer for Department of Justice who has filed ...

Evan Vokes

Evan Vokes is a metallurgical engineer who learned that his employer, TransCanada Pipelines, often failed to comply with the engineering codes that are essential to ensure the safety and reliability of pipelines.

After raising his concerns through the line of command to the senior executive and to the regulator without any satisfactory response, he went public with his allegations, which were featured on the CBC National news program in October 2012. Apparently stung into action by public criticism, the regulator launched an investigation which validated many of Vokes' concerns.





  • They told me to take money and run, says pipeline whistleblower | National Observer | Mar 18, 2016

Engineer Evan Vokes standing by soccer field, where pipelines are laid underground, in Cochrane, Alberta, 2015. Photo by Mike De Souza.

  • TransCanada whistleblower's complaints validated by NEB | | Feb 25, 2014

TransCanada whistleblower's complaints validated by NEB ... system conducted after the complaints of whistleblower Evan Vokes were ...

  • TransCanada Whistleblower Warns Of Shoddy Pipeline Practices | Huffington Post | Jun 11, 2013

Former TransCanada Corp. employee Evan Vokes' impassioned testimony before a Canadian Senate committee last week painted “a very, ...

Dr. Shiv Chopra

In 1998 Dr. Shiv Chopra and two colleagues at Health Canada testified to the Senate that they were being pressured to approve drugs into the food supply without the legally required evidence of human safety.

Their revelations created headlines around the world and led to bovine growth hormone rBGH -- a product used to boost cows' milk production -- being banned in most developed countries except the USA.

In 2004 the three scientists were fired simultaneously for 'insubordination'. 

In 2014, Chopra founded the Canadian Council for Food Safety and Health, saying he still had concerns about what he called the “five pillars of food safety” — hormones, antibiotics, slaughterhouse byproducts used in animal feed, pesticides and genetically modified organisms.

Shiv Chopra died January 7, 2018 at the age of 84 after spending much of the past three decades in the spotlight.





  • Website:
  • Corrupt to the Core: Memoirs of a Health Canada Whistleblower Aug 12 2009

by Shiv Chopra (Author)

  • Whistleblower Shiv Chopra remembered for 'speaking truth to power' | January 11, 2018

Shiv Chopra did not fear wading into controversy. He would do it again and again. The government scientist said it was his job to blow the whistle when the evidence showed that drugs used for animals posed a danger to the safety of Canada’s food system.

  • Whistleblower scientist not entitled to get job back, court rules | CBC | Sept 6, 2017

Dr. Shiv Chopra has lost his 13-year battle to regain the Health Canada job from which he was fired in 2004. The ruling came from the Federal Court of Appeal on Wednesday. Chopra called it a "travesty of justice." Chopra was one of three Health Canada veterinary scientists who spoke out in the 1990s

  • Dr. Shiv Chopra brings anti-TPP message to Chilliwack | Chilliwack Times | Apr 12, 2016

This Thursday, former Health Canada senior scientist and whistleblower Dr. Shiv Chopra speaks in Chilliwack about his opposition to the TPP ...

  • Effectively silencing Canada's whistleblowers | Toronto Star | Aug 13, 2011

The scientists — Dr. Shiv Chopra, Margaret Haydon and Gerard Lambert — had for years valiantly resisted repeated efforts by Health Canada ...

  • 1 of 3 Health Canada 'whistleblowers' reinstated | CBC News | Aug, 8, 2011

Dr. Shiv Chopra is one of three former Health Canada scientists who was fired in 2004. He lost a recent decision by the public service labour ...

  • Whistleblowing at Health Canada: Chopra speaks out | NCBI | Sept 2009

In 1998, Dr. Shiv Chopra and two colleagues testified to a Senate Committee that Health Canada managers had pressured them to release suspect veterinary ...

Ian Bron

In 2005 Ian Bron began to raise concerns regarding the inadequacy of standards being developed by Transport Canada for security in our ports to prevent terrorist attacks. Management's response was to isolate and harass him.

When he wrote a formal report about his concerns in 2006 his bosses claimed that he was harassing them and launched an investigation that would ultimately last 3 years.

In 2013 Bron left the public service. He asserts that his concerns regarding security were never properly investigated and that few of the problems he identified have been addressed.





  • 'I couldn't just sit by and watch things happen': whistleblower Ian Bron | Hill Times | Jun 23, 2014

Chief of Transport Canada's marine transportation security's regulatory affairs in 2005, Ian Bron said his life was turned upside down after ...

  • Marine security riddled with gaps: whistleblower | CBC News | Jan 23, 2008

…11, 2001, terrorist attacks, writes an award-winning civil servant and former naval officer who has since left the department. Ian Bron, 41, served ...

Joanna Gualtieri

Joanna Gualtieri exposed lavish extravagance in the purchase of accommodation abroad for staff in Foreign Affairs. The Inspector General and Auditor General of Canada later supported her allegations. Gualtieri claimed the Bureau seemed not to care, that her bosses harassed her for raising the concerns and that she was a given dead-end job after coming forward.

Ms. Gualtieri continued to battle for other whistleblowers by founding FAIR (Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform) and by serving as a director for almost 10 years.

  • Trudeau’s Words On Federal Whistleblower Law An ‘Illusion,’ Warns Former Whistleblower | HuffPost | February 15, 2021

  • 'I was a broken person': The long, hard journey of whistleblower Joanna Gualtieri | Ottawa Citizen | Nov 18, 2016

Former public servant Joanna Gualtieri, who blew the whistle on lavish spending at Canada's foreign missions two decades ago, says she lives with sadness for what her long struggle has cost her.

  • Enemy of the state: Weston | Toronto Sun | Apr 11, 2010

Joanna Gualtieri had just joined Foreign Affairs as a property ... It is now almost impossible for a future whistleblower to sue the government.

  • Whistleblower wins case against feds | Toronto Sun | Apr 6, 2010

Joanna Gualtieri, a former foreign affairs realty portfolio manager, began to file reports alleging the department was spending extravagant ...

  • Whistleblower awaits justice after 14 years | | May 15, 2006

Joanna Gualtieri's efforts to fix what she considered a corrupt ... she says, she ultimately turned into a whistleblower who has sued her former ...

Sean Bruyea

In 2005, former Air Force intelligence officer Sean Bruyea discovered serious flaws in a new program for injured soldiers, which was being rushed through Parliament in a secretive and underhanded manner. The legislation, known as the 'New Veterans Charter' scrapped the comprehensive life-long benefits hitherto provided to injured veterans and replaced these with a one-time lump sum payment of much lower value. Although he was not personally affected by the new program, Bruyea became an outspoken critic of the Charter and campaigned vigorously against it. He also advocated successfully for the creation of a veterans ombudsman: his writings provided the foundation of the Conservative Party 2006 election platform that promised to create a watchdog for veterans rights.

Finding Bruyea's advocacy unwelcome, Veterans Affairs bureaucrats plotted to punish him by destroying his credibility, and did so by broadcasting highly sensitive personal information from his medical files – Bruyea suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other psychological and physical injuries as a result of his service in the 1991 Gulf war. Veterans Affairs bureaucrats included large amounts of such personal information in briefing notes to various federal Cabinet Ministers, the Prime Minister’s Office and others, falsely suggesting that Bruyea was mentally unstable. Ultimately more than 800 people in the bureaucracy had access to his personal medical records – perhaps one of the worst violations ever of Canadian privacy laws.

The Public Sector Integrity Commissioner refused to investigate Bruyea's case, saying that the misconduct he was reporting did not amount to 'wrongdoing' as defined in the legislation that provides her mandate.

  • The disgrace at Veterans Affairs Canada | Globe and Mail | Oct 15, 2010

So, too, has retired captain Sean Bruyea, a 14-year air force vet with service ... After Mr. Bruyea started criticizing the department in 2005 over a ...

  • Privacy breach at Veterans Affairs 'struck terror in our hearts' | Globe and Mail | Sep 22, 2010

Sean Bruyea was a rare voice of dissent when he spoke out against a new Veterans Charter at a 2005 Senate hearing. The retired veteran of ...

The 'RCMP Five'

The RCMP Pension Fund scandal finally came to light through the efforts of five people, who all struggled on courageously in the face of apparent attempts by RCMP top brass to block investigations. Denise Revine was the human resource director who first uncovered the suspicious transactions and compiled a massive file of evidence. Her boss Chief Superintendent Fraser Macaulay tried to ensure that this evidence was properly investigated – and was removed from his position and given what he believed was a punitive secondment. Retired Staff-Sgt. Ron Lewis led persistent efforts to make someone in authority pay attention – first within the RCMP, then in outside agencies such as the Treasury Board and Auditor General, and finally to MPs and the media. Staff-Sgt. Steve Walker took part in the Ottawa Police Service's criminal investigation into the affair, and Staff-Sgt. Mike Frizzell was abruptly removed from the investigation as his inquiries got close to senior RCMP management.

In an unprecedented turn of events all five were given the RCMP’s most coveted award, the Commissioner’s Commendation, for outstanding service, and a Commons committee unanimously passed a motion that the five be publicly commended and that commendation be tabled in Parliament. Prior to this, no Canadian whistleblower had ever received formal thanks or recognition from the authorities.

  • High cost of whistleblowing | Toronto Star | Jun 30, 2007  

Outgoing RCMP Commissioner Bev Busson formally commended those five people with Commissioner's Commendations – the force's top ...

  • Commons committee shocked by details of RCMP pension plan allegations | | Mar 29, 2007

Five RCMP officers and a whistleblower who lost her job accused the force's senior management, led by.

Allan Cutler

Allan Cutler was a procurement officer with Public Works Department who refused to go along with improper procurement practices, and as a result suffered retaliation from management over the course of many years. Cutler lodged a complaint, which prompted a departmental audit of the advertising and public opinion division. But by the time the audit was underway, Cutler was transferred to the technical and special services division of Public Works. During the Sponsorship Scandal investigation Cutler tabled an inch thick document which contained meticulous notes, memos and his own diary detailing how the rules were being broken. The evidence that he painstakingly gathered during this ordeal was vital to the Gomery Inquiry.

  • Allan Cutler was a Conservative hero | | Oct 15, 2013

Allan Cutler, a former Conservative candidate who was famous for whistleblowing during the Sponsorship Scandal, has lost faith in his former ...

  • Quebec Election 2012: Allan Cutler knows a whistleblower when he ... | Toronto Star | Aug 8, 2012

Allan Cutler, seen in 2005, is the former federal bureaucrat who blew the whistle on the now-infamous Sponsorship Program in 2003. (Tannis ...

Daniel Land

Daniel Land was in charge of testing meat for pathogens at the Pitt Meadows Meats plant in BC. When he received a positive test result for the deadly E. coli O157 he immediately told his bosses, but the plant manager told him to keep quiet about it and threw the test result into the garbage can, said Land.

The company also did not notify the authorities – a serious breach of regulations. The company fired Land and made various accusations against him: telling the media that it was because of his inability to get along with co-workers, that he was a disgruntled employee, and that they suspected him of tampering with the meat samples.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) ordered a recall and launched an investigation that resulted in a report being sent to federal Crown. No charges have been laid. The company changed its name to Meadow Valley Meats and gave up its federal license: it is no longer inspected by CFIA and does not have to test for E. coli since BC provincial regulations do not require this.

  • Pitt Meadows Meats apologizes, pleads guilty in E. coli case | CBC | Apr 13, 2015

Pitt Meadows Meats pleaded guilty on Monday to selling E. coli-tainted ... Daniel Land says the Pitt Meadows plant manager ignored a positive ...

  • Meat industry whistleblower says problems persist | CTV Vancouver | Oct 5, 2012

Daniel Land, who worked as a quality assurance inspector for Pitt Meadows Meats, is slamming the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for not ...

B.C. meat plant covers up positive E. coli test - British Columbia | CBC  | Jan 19, 2011

The cover-up came to light when Daniel Land, who oversaw the plant's quality assurance, contacted CBC News, saying officials at Pitt Meadows ...

Bob Gale

Bob Gale is a former Commissioner of the Niagara Parks Commission who in 2008 exposed that the commission had secretly signed a sweetheart 25-year lease extension with the current operator of the Maid of the Mist boat tours. This deal, worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the operator, shut out other potential bidders offering more favourable terms. After an eight-month investigation, two government reviews and further damaging revelations in the media, the commission was overruled by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and ordered to conduct an open competitive tender process for the lease. In 2012 the contract was awarded to a different company at an estimated saving to the taxpayer of 300 million dollars.

  • Whistleblower Bob Gale Saved Ontario Taxpayers $300 Million | Niagara At Large | Feb 23, 2012

Case also demonstrates that Ontario's whistleblower protection system needs strengthened. From David Hutton OTTAWA, February 22 —When ...

Brian McAdam/China

Brian McAdam's 30-year career in the foreign service ended suddenly in 1993 after he exposed corruption at the Canadian Consulate in Hong Kong and the infiltration of Chinese organized crime members and spies into Canada. His work saved the Canadian government an estimated $50 million, prevented the entry of over 1,000 organized crime figures such as Triad, Yakuza, and Mafia members into Canada, and revealed China's extensive espionage activities in Canada, which have now been confirmed by Canada's intelligence service, Chinese defectors and others.

  • One man's China crusade | | Aug 25, 2008

For Canadian diplomat Brian McAdam, it wasn't that he had. ... Both Canadian and Chinese consular staff, he says, were selling visas to ...

Brian describes a "remote targeted attack" which has been used used on other diplomats

Donna Jacobs, The Ottawa Citizen

Published: Monday, August 25, 2008

For Canadian diplomat Brian McAdam, it wasn't that he had uncovered the lucrative sale of Canadian visas during his posting at Canada's Hong Kong consulate.

Both Canadian and Chinese consular staff, he says, were selling visas to members of the Chinese mafia and Communist China's intelligence service. The price, he heard, ranged from $10,000 to $100,000 per visa.

It wasn't that reports he sent to his bosses in Canada -- details on murderers, money launderers, smugglers and spies trying to enter Canada -- were met with silence or mostly destroyed.

It wasn't dozens of threatening calls -- "Stop what you're doing or you're going to find yourself dead" -- from Triad members during his 1989-1993 stint in Hong Kong.

What finally broke him down, he says, was "the incredible feeling of betrayal from my colleagues. I'd worked with these people for years."

"It goes to your very soul," he says. "It is a spiritual crisis. It is a psychological breakdown."

There was the day he got a phone call from his Hong Kong Police Department source, who was wiretapping a Triad kingpin.

"What shocked the Hong Kong policeman was that the Triad member had phoned someone in the Canadian immigration minister's office in Ottawa," says Mr. McAdam.

"The officer commented: 'With that kind of relationship, you've got a really serious problem.' "

What shocked Mr. McAdam was what the officer said next: The Canadian reassured the Triad boss, "Don't worry about McAdam and what he's doing. We'll take care of him."

Cpl. Robert Read/China

Cpl. Robert Read a 26-year veteran of the RCMP was fired after investigating government corruption involving the Canadian High Commission in Hong Kong. In the course of his investigation he uncovered evidence of the corruption and what appeared to him to be a massive cover-up of that evidence. Read‘s investigation involved very rich and powerful members of the business community in Hong Kong, political connections in the People‘s Republic of China and the Liberal government of Jean Chretien.

An RCMP external review committee later vindicated Read saying the Mounties had seriously mishandled investigations into complaints that Asian triads had infiltrated the embassy. The committee also found that the national police force was reluctant to investigate foreign affairs employees who were suspected of taking bribes from China‘s rich and powerful, many of whom are widely known to be part of the communist spy network. In its ruling, the committee said that Read was justified in taking his concerns to the media and ordered him reinstated. The RCMP refused.

Read took his case to the Federal Court of Canada. In June 2005 Judge Sean Harrington condemned Read for “a lack of loyalty to the government” and reaffirmed his firing. Read has since appealed all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, which in May 2007 declined to hear his case.

  • SCC won't hear appeal from RCMP whistleblower | CTV News | May 10, 2007

Robert Read, an RCMP corporal and a 26-year veteran of the force, went public through the media in 1999 with his allegations of corruption ...

  • RCMP whistle-blower fighting for job | | Jan 17, 2002

RCMP tries to fire whistle-blower of alleged corruption at Canada's Hong Kong ... Robert Reid is facing an RCMP adjudication board in Ottawa that ... that the RCMP has taken against Corporal Reid and the reason why we're ...



RCMP-CSIS Joint Review Committee



Joint RCMP Study

Information as of

24 June 1997

Translated text

Chinese Intelligence Services 

and Triads Financial Links in Canada

Draft Submitted

 to the RCMP-CSIS 

Joint Review Committee

24 June 1997


Table of Contents  








Beijing's Strategic Alliances, or the lessons of Sun Tsu


Immigration to Canada


Hundreds of Canadian Companies "Made In China"


Case Studies 



CITIC (Canada)


Norinco and Poly Technology (Poly Group)


-Banks and financial institutions

CIBC and the Hong Kong Bank of Canada


Wood Gundy, Merrill Lynch and Gordon Capital Corp.


-High technology

Semi-Tech Corporation


China Huaneng Group, Unipec Canada and Goldpark China Ltd.


-Entertainment and Media

Charles Y. M. Kwan Promotions


North American Studios


China Vision and Fairchild Entertainment


Hong Kong Telecommunications and Wharf Cable Ltd.


-Food-Services industry

Tai Foong International 


-Real estate and hotels

Grand Adex Properties Inc. and Concord Pacific Development Corp.


World Financial Properties


Ramada Hotels, Harbour Castle (Toronto) and others


-Universities and research centers

University of Toronto and University of Western Ontario


Chinese Intelligence Services Penetration of Canadian Companies


Interference by Financing of Canadian Political Parties


The Importance of the Chinese Diaspora


Consequences for Canada





-Appendix I:      Annual number of certifications of permanent residence in Canada for persons

                        from Hong Kong since 1990:  "entrepreneur" and "investor" categories


-Appendix II:      Annual breakdown of the choice of province by permanent residents from 

                        Hong Kong "entrepreneur" and "investor" categories


-Appendix III:     Origin and Description of the Triads


-Appendix IV:    Description of a Typical Triad Member

Profile A: Young Adult


Profile B: Mature Member


-Appendix V:    Guanxi or networking


-Appendix VI:   The Chinese Diaspora



     In May 1996 a joint project was initiated by the RCMP Criminal Analysis Branch and the CSIS Analysis and Production Branch to assess the extent of the threat posed by the acquisition and control of Canadian companies by members or associates of triads and with affiliations to the Chinese Intelligence Services. The research team quickly realized that the initial premise was the tip of the iceberg with only a minute portion of a much more complex situation showing. It should be stressed that this report is a prospective document that makes to claim to provide a full survey of the issue; in fact, quite the opposite.

     This document does not present theories but indicators of a multifaceted threat to Canada's national security based on concrete fats drawn from the databanks of the two agencies involved, classified reports from allied agencies and various open sources. This study has departed from the conventional and sometimes confining approaches followed by our respective methodologies. Although both organizations have fairly extensive expertise on Chinese matters, it is nevertheless very different. It is clear at the end of this exercise that both organizations have gained from cooperating on this research. When put together, these two bodies of expertise complement each other, providing a broader and more substantial perspective of the Chinese issues. (S)

     The scope of the problem found after a few weeks of research dictated that the initial research results had to be presented in the form of case studies. At the moment, we estimate that over 200 Canadian companies are under the direct or indirect control of China. Although it was impossible to do all the research within the parameters initially given; however, sufficient details have been found to reveal the threat. It should be reiterated that this report presents concrete facts, not just ideas or speculation. We trust that we have demonstrated the need to continue the work within a broader and more elaborate framework. (C)

Chinese Intelligence Services and Triads

Financial Links in Canada


     Since the mid-1980s, a substantial immigration flow from Hong Kong has taken place and Canadian authorities were first alerted when a significant presence of Chinese organized crime elements among this group was detected. Many came through the "entrepreneur and "investor" immigration program and some of these criminals even have succeeded to obtain their Canadian citizenship. Although not all immigrants in these categories are suspected, two particular groups of individuals raised attention. Two other groups have also taken advantage of the "entrepreneur" and "investor" categories to immigrate and to invest in Canada. First, a certain number of very rich Hong Kong Chinese business people (tycoons) who are known to have been cooperating with the Chinese Government for years. Then a group composed of associates and relatives of China's leadership and the Chinese Intelligence Service (ChIS). Intelligence reveals that certain individuals of these three groups have been working for over fifteen years in concert with the Chinese government, and some of their "financial ventures" in Canada serve to conceal criminal or intelligence activities. (S)

    Hand in hand with this situation, the ChIS [Chinese Intelligence Service] make very active use of their access to Canadian industries through exchanges of specialists and students, and also set up shell companies to pursue their acquisition of economic and technological intelligence. Cooperation between the Hong Kong tycoons, the triads and the Beijing leadership adds a new dimension to the well known "mass line collection" strategy followed by the ChIS. This situation substantially raises the level of the potential threat, revealing the effectiveness of Chinese efforts to obtain Canadian technology and their capability to interfere in the management of the country. Central points and essential for the understanding of the problem are the cultural singularities that characterize the Chinese as the concepts of "debt of honour", "duties", "Hou Tai or backers" and "Guanxi or connections." ) (S)

     By using these alliances, the Chinese government is trying to gain influence on Canadian politics by maximizing their presence over some of the country's economic levers. To that end, they proceed initially to buy and/or legally set up a company in Canada that, once under their control, buys other companies and so on. An effective domino effect ensues that acts like a well-spun web or network at strategic points. It is estimated that over 200 Canadian companies have passed into Chinese influence or ownership since the early 1980s through the triads, tycoons or China national companies. These businesses are found in various sectors of the economy, ranging from multinationals to banking, high technology and real estate (CITIC, Norinco, Husky Oil, Grand Adex Properties Inc, Merrill Lynch, Gordon Capital, Inc, Tai Foong International, CIBC, Ramada Hotels, China Vision and Semi-Tech Corporation, etc.). The triads' companies are also used to pursue their criminal activities, such as money-laundering and heroin trafficking, as well as assistance to the ChIS.  (S) 

     Being Canadian these businesses are also eligible to receive government subsidies for research or classified contracts from Federal Departments. The risk is that after the research is done, there results can be transferred to China. Other form of risk is with the access gain through classified contract. As an example, a Canadian company under Chinese influence was in contention for a contract to set up and run a classified communications system linking the main agencies of the Canadian intelligence community. A company in Toronto specializing in video surveillance was originally Canadian, but was bought by  a Chinese multinational. It is impossible at present to say how many or which Canadian companies are in the same situation. These examples, however, raise questions about the integrity of some companies that have already installed security systems for various Canadian government institutions or Canadian research industries. (S)

     Significant portions of some large Canadian urban centres are also owned by Chinese entrepreneurs. For example, it is estimated that Li Ka-Shing owns with his son at least one sixth to one third of downtown Vancouver.  (S)

    These "corporate" figures have become an influential presence on the political and economic landscapes of Toronto and Vancouver and at the provincial and federal levels. The triads, the tycoons and the ChIS have learned the quick way to gain influence is to provide finance to the main political parties. Most of the companies identified in this research have contributed, sometimes several tends of thousands of dollars, to the two traditional political parties, that is, the Liberal and the Progressive-Conservative Parties.  (S)

The Chinese leadership continues to gain much direct or indirect influence over the Canadian economy and politics. Having bought significant real estate holdings and established businesses in Canada, China has obtained access to influential figures who are now or once active at various levels of Canadian society. In many ways, China remains one of the greatest ongoing threats to Canada's national security and Canadian industry.  (S)

"Be so subtle that you are invisible. 

             Be so mysterious that you are intangible. 

     Then you will control your rival's fate."

Sun Tzu, 

                                The Art of War (c. 509 BC)


1. With the announcement of the return of Hong Kong to China in the mid-1980s, Canada witnessed the arrival of a substantial immigration and capital flow from that region. For example, between January 1990 and March 1997, 233,077 Hong Kong residents emigrated to Canada, of whom nearly 70,0001 were in the "entrepreneur" or "investor" category. This exceeded the "family" category over the same period. Although the great majority of these migrants were legitimate, the Canadian authorities detected a significant presence of Chinese organized crime elements, among them, namely the triads and their associates, some of whom succeeded in obtaining Canadian citizenship.2  (S)

2. Some wealthy Hong Kong Chinese investors and Chinese from Mainland closely affiliated or related with the country's leadership and the ChIS also took advantage of the "entrepreneur" and "investor" categories to emigrate in and invest in Canada. Few even bought or established companies on Canadian soil through family members who had obtained Canadian citizenship. Intelligence indicates that these specific individuals with these three groups: triads, Hong Kong investors and people close to China's leadership, have been identified working with concert with the Chinese government to gain influence through some of their "financial ventures" in Canada. Some companies which are also used to conceal criminal or intelligence activities. At the same time, the ChIS use their access to Canadian businesses through exchanges and technical or student visas to steal classified and technological information. They have gone so far as to set up shell companies to pursue their economic and technological information acquisition operations.  (S)

3. A new triumvirate was born. This cooperation between Hong Kong Chinese business people, the triads and the Beijing leadership adds a new dimension to the known mass line collection strategy followed by ChIS.  Economic, political and security indicators based on factual data revealed the potential threat and efforts made by the Chinese to obtain Canadian technology, but above all to obtain influence over economic levers and prominent Canadian figures.  (S)


4. When Deng Xiaoping came to power in the late 1970s, he introduced his economic reforms with the slogan "to get rich is glorious."  To achieve that end, he had to move China onto the international markets. The isolationism of the former regime, however, handicapped the Chinese leadership. It therefore turned to the richest Chinese business people of Hong Kong, including, among many others, Li Ka-Shing, Henry Fok Ying-Tung, Wang Foon-Shing, Stanley Hoand the man who would eventually be chosen by Beijing to head Hong Kong after the departure of the British, Tung Chee-Wa (C.H. Tung). On 23 May 1982, Li Ka-Shing and Henry Fok met with Deng Xiaoping and Zhao Ziyang in Beijing to discuss the future of the peninsula. Their task would be to advise and educate the Chinese authorities about the basic rules of capitalism. In return, Beijing gave them privileged access to the vast Chinese economic basin. These powerful international financiers played an important role in the preparations for the transfer of Hong Kong. (UC)

5. In 1984, the British Government of Margaret Thatcher announced that it would return Hong Kong to China on 1st July 1997. This was not news to the Chinese or the rest of the world since a treaty signed nearly a century before had stipulated that Hong Kong was to revert to China in 1997. The reality of the impending transfer, however, created insecurity that was strengthened by the tragedy of Tiananment Square in June 1989. That incident made Beijing realize more than ever that it would have to prepare the ground for its arrival not only with regard to the financial community but also the population. In the late 1980s, Western intelligence services reported the very active presence in Hong Kong of the United Front Work Department (UFW).4  For that purpose, the UFW was given the responsibility among other things for building alliance with the triads already affiliated with many business people. As early as 1992, Western intelligence services knew that, Wong Man Fong, formerly Head of the New China News Agency, was instructed to inform the triads bosses that if they agreed not to jeopardize with the transition process and the normal business in Hong Kong, Beijing would assure them that they will be allowed to pursuit their illegal activities without interference.5   The Beijing authorities also created a front company in Hong Kong for Wong Man Fong to facilitate his contacts with the triads and so assist triads groups set up legitimate business in China, particularly in Guangzhou and Shangai.6  Following these negotiations, Deng Xiaoping himself was speaking of the triads as Chinese "patriotic groups", and the Hong Kong press published a photograph of Charles Heung, a senior officer of the Sun Yee On, conversing with the patriarch's daughter.7  At the same time, Interior Minister Tao Siji indicated that there were patriotic members among the triads and they were welcome to do business in China.  (S)

6. The political class has also been targeted by Beijing's leaders. Without any doubts for the communist masters it was essential to obtain the cooperation of key elements of influential local personalities. Their collaboration or their resistance in China's requests before July 1st was going to make the difference between the possibility to do business with China after the transition. To achieve this, political and business people have been approached and enthusiastic collaborators received positions within various transition committees. For example, in early February 1997, Rita Fan Hsu Lai-Tai was appointed by Beijing, chair of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Provisional Legislative Council (LEGCO). Mrs. Fan Hus has been identified as a secret cadre of the Chinese Communist Party and an associate of Albert and Sonny Yeung, both officers of the Sun Yee On triad. She is also the daughter of one of the leaders of the Shanghai Triad criminal organization known as the Green Gang before the communist takeover in 1949. This group was known for its political assassinations on behalf of another triad boss, Chiang Kai Shek.(S)


7. Canada has always been a preferred destination for the people of Hong Kong. It is estimated that 100,000 Canadians live on the peninsula, and most of them are natives of the city. Hong Kong alone has been for the last 10 years the top source of immigration to Canada, with over 500,000 Hong Kong people now living here and accounting for 22 percent of all immigration to Canada. Over half of the 66,000 persons who left Hong Kong in 1996 came to Canada. To that must be added 17,000 students, amounting to a fifth of all foreign students in Canada. (C)

8. Among legitimate immigrants in recent years, some persons affiliated with or members of the Chinese triads have succeeded in slipping in and obtaining Canadian citizenship. Several triad officers 9 and their associates even have family members residing in Canada. Their choice of Canada was no accident. This country is an excellent place to invest in companies to launder the profits derived from criminal activities while securing a portion of their assets outside Hong Kong and obtaining a Canadian passport. Most of these individuals are members or associates of the upper echelons of the triads and own or run large businesses in Hong Kong. As part of their secret agreements reached with the Beijing leadership,10 these triads now use their Canadian acquisitions to engage in intelligence activities, such as intimidating individuals, identifying potential sources of facilitating visit of Chinese delegations on behalf of China. (S)

9. Two other types of investor represent another danger to the Canadian economy, namely, the rich Hong Kong Chinese business people and leaders of the Chinese civilian and military authorities of China. Like the "entrepreneurs" affiliated with the triads, Chinese investors from Hong Kong or Beijing have taken control of Canadian companies in various sectors of the economy. Some of these businesses have even obtained Canadian government classified contracts. The threat is more significant because the strategic alliance between the Beijing leadership and Hong Kong tycoons is reinforced by the powerful ethnic and cultural ties associated with guanxi.11 This concept rules the links, the obligations or duties and the type of relations between individuals and is a characteristic of the Chinese culture. (S)

10. In all three cases, their commercial activities have enabled them to develop a position in the Canadian economy that affords them the opportunity to engage in intelligence activities, such as illicit transfer of technology, foreign influence and interference, identification and cultivation of persons favourable to China, and the acquisition of undue control in important Canadian economic and political circles. (S)

11. Even before Hong Kong's official return to the Communists, it was established by several Western agencies that their national immigration systems had been affected by illegal ChIS and triad interference. Laurence Leung Ming-Yen, a former director of the Hong Kong immigration service, is still under investigation after he had to resign under the pressure of allegations of corruption and illegally disclosing confidential information about residents of the peninsula. The controversy surrounding Leung was fed by his business relationship with the flamboyant tycoon Tsul Tsin Tong, well known for his pro-Beijing views and a member of the notorious Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and Preparatory Committee. The murder of Leung's young daughter in Vancouver in 1993 by a crossbow bolt has still not been solved. The Vancouver police suspect the crime was committed by triad members. 

12. In 1996, an extensive special investigation within the American immigration service led to the arrest of two former heads of this service stationed in Hong Kong. Jerry Wolf Stuchiner was found in possession of illegal Honduran passports12 and was recently released after he accepted to collaborate in the trial of James DeBates.13   James DeBates and his wife Heddy, an American of Chinese origin, were also arrested  and questioned regarding their involvement in Stuchiner's activities and the illegal entry of Chinese immigrates into the United States. Canada has unfortunately its share of difficulties. Different cases were investigated and like the case of Robert Geddes, a former citizenship judge, whom was charged in May 1997 with 33 counts of fraud and misrepresentation in 13 known cases involving Hong Kong Chinese.

13. Analysis of the destination of immigrants broken down by Canadian province is an indicator of the concentration of the activities of these groups. Between January 1990 and March 1997, 39.1 percent of the persons registered in the entrepreneur and investor categories chose to settle in British Columbia, particularly in the south Fraser Valley. Ontario for its part received 28.5 per cent of immigrants, who settled mainly in the Toronto area. This pattern is explained by the large, long-established Chinese communities in these areas which are essential in the activities of the triads, Chinese investors and ChIS. Under the same program, 20.6 per cent of such immigrants settled in Quebec while Alberta received only 7.3 per cent. (S)


14. The influx of Chinese investors who are affiliated with the triads or new associates of Beijing poses a new challenge to Canada's national security. The central point of the strategy of the Chinese is first to buy a Canadian company so as to obtain a "local identity", legally concealing subtly their foreign identity. Then, using this acquisition, the Chinese-Canadian company invests heavily or buys other companies in various economic sectors, but always under the Canadian banner. In actual fact, control lies in Hong Kong or Beijing, and the financial benefits or fruits of research, often paid for by Ottawa or the provinces, are likely to make their way to Asia. (S)

15. Hand in hand with their ethnicity and their commercial ambitions, the financial network of the Chinese entrepreneurs associated to the organized crime and to the power in Beijing has grown exponentially and very rapidly in Canada. Their influence over local, provincial and national political leaders has also increased. In the game of influence, several of these important Chinese entrepreneurs have associated themselves with prestigious and influential Canadian politicians, offering them positions on their boards of directors. Many of those companies are China's national companies.

16. The analysis of the information demonstrates that their attention was not initially directed towards sensitive sectors like high technology or other even more sensitive areas, but towards what might be called "soft" sectors such as: real estate, hotels, transportation, oil companies and travel agencies. Commercial sectors that at first sight do not involve any security risks and did not attract the attention of the Canadian services responsible for security. The scale of their ventures or investments has now made them some of the most important figures present in the major centres, and their decisions to invest in one place or another are not a matter of indifference to anyone. Such projects are seen by the local or national business community as a "favour" or a "chance" not to be missed. (S)


17. It is estimated at the present time that over 200 Canadian companies are under Chinese control.  These business are to be found in myriad sectors of the economy, ranging from multinationals to banking, high technology and real estate.  Some typical cases are presented here to illustrate the various scenarios that are clearly worrying for Canadian security.  At first site, these individual cases do not seem to be a great threat.  It becomes, however more disturbing when the ownership links between various sectors of Canadian enterprises are revealed.  (S)


18. CITIC (Canada)   China International Trust Investment & Company  (China International Trust & Investment Corporation) is the largest Chinese operating internationally.  It has subsidiaries operating in several Western countries, including the United States and Canada (Vancouver).   Founded at the end of the 1970s, it now has assets worth US$23 billion.  Its subsidiary in Canada CITIC BC Inc., opened it doors in 1986.  By 1995, it reported a turnover of CDN$250 million (1995).  The projections for 1996 aimed for $290 million. (UC)

19.  CITIC was initially established to encourage foreign investment in China.  It has since taken the lead in Chinese investments outside China, in all areas from real estate to electronics.  In 1979 Beijing appointed to CITIC's board of directors three Hong Kong financial giants, Li Ka-Shing, Henry Fok Ying-Tung and Wang Foon-Shing.  With their assistance, in the following years, the Beijing acquired important companies such as Cathy Pacific Airlines, Hong Kong Telecom and Star TV.  In Canada, it is estimated that CITIC has invested nearly $500 million to buy up businesses in certain areas, such as Celgar Pulp Mill in British Columbia, Nova Corp Petrochemical in Alberta, real estate through Hang Chong Investments Ltd. and hotels.  Eventually, CITIC developed also close business links with Power Corporation.  (S) 

20.  CITIC recently attracted American media attention in the scandal over illegal contributions to the US Democratic Party and influence-peddling by the Chinese government (see section below).  CITIC, China Resources and the Lippo Group (in which in both Li Ka-Shing is a large shareholder) are at the centre of the affair.  CITIC chairman, Wang Jan, is also chairman of Poly Technology (see  next section).  CITIC has repeated the gesture by contributing through its Canadian subsidiaries to Canadian Political Parties.  (UC)

21.  Norinco and Poly Technology (Poly Group).  Northern Industrial Corporation (Norinco) and Poly Technologies (a subsidiary of  Poly Group) are both owned by China and under the control of CITIC.  They have subsidies around the world, including Canada (Montreal) and the United States.  Poly Group was until recently head by Deng Xiaoping's son-in-law, He Ping, and is part of the entrepreneurial drive of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).  Several large quantities of arms manufactured by Norinco have been confiscated on Indian reserves, especially those of the Mohawks.  In May 1996, US authorities what they described as the biggest arms seizure on American soil, confiscating 2,000 AK-47assault rifles and other military weapons from a warehouse in California.  The US-based Chinese representatives of Poly Technologies and Norinco were arrested in connection with this affair.  Although the final destination of the arms has not been determined, the Amerindians "Warriors" and American militia trails are strongly suspected by US authorities.  (S)

22.  In another incident, the Rex International Development company of Hong Kong, in which Norinco is the majority shareholder, is currently under investigation possibly subject to prosecution for exporting components for the manufacturing of chemical weapons to Iran.  Rex was established in 1982 as a joint venture with Norinco by Tsui Tsin-Tong, a financial partner of Li Ka-Shing.  Tsui filed an application to emigrate to Canada in 1985 which has been renewed several times.  His case is still not settled because he has never satisfied the Canadian authorities by providing adequate explanations of his contacts with the PLA and the ChIS.  Silver City Development Ltd., which holds shares in Rex, has been used for several years by the ChIS and the Chinese leadership as an investment front and cover.  (S)

23.  Through the power of its multinationals industries and the billions of dollars they generate, China has been able to establish itself in the Western economy.  This gave to the country an enormous advantage in the pursuit of gaining influence.  In return through these subsidies and influences, they are able to open channels to facilitate access to Western power and traffic of illegal weapons and technology.  (S)

Banks and financial institutions

24.  CIBC and the Hong Kong Bank of Canada.  The banking industry is one if not the most important economic leverage in this country.  To control or to be able to influence the actions of a bank gives to a single or a group of important shareholders a very influential and privilege position in our society.  In this domain, Canada might be in a disadvantage position.  Of the G-7 countries, Canada has the fewest banks that is five major institutions including the CIBC which in return creates the highest concentration of assets in the same hands.  Banks, as a whole, hold 57 percent of industrial shares,  54 percent of private deposits and 65 per cent of personal credit.  Some analysts predict that the Canadian banks will hold 70 percent of the mutual fund market by the year 2000. (UC)

25. Rich investors like Li Ka-Shing and even the Chinese regime itself got interested in the 1980s to invest in banks and Canadian banks too.  Li Ka-Shing owns 10 percent of the CIBC, which is the largest single individual share holder.  He is also in partnership with the CIBC in many companies like development projects like of the land of Expo 86 in Vancouver (CDA $3 Billion).  This bank seems to be particularly used by Chinese investors.  The 1980s saw several bank acquisitions and mergers in this country.  The Continental Bank was sold to Lloyds Bank Canada which in turn was bought by the Hong Kong Bank of Canada.  The latter is the sixth largest bank in Canada, and the largest foreign one.  In 1986, it acquired the Bank of British Columbia.  Li Ka-Shing and Stanley Ho14 are share holders and on the Board of Directors of the Hong Kong Bank in Hong Kong which owns the subsidiary in Canada.  The Government of China is also a share holder of that bank.  (UC)

26.  Wood Gundy, Merrill Lynch and Gordon Capital Corp.  Other important financial sector linked to banks is the brokerage house business.  In Canada, it is dominated by a few large banks.  In 1993, eight of the largest Canadian brokerage institutions were owned by five banks and controlled 70 percent of the securities market.  In 1988, CIBC bought 65 percent of the shares of Wood Gundy at a cost of CDA $190 million, or three times the book value.  (UC)

27. In 1990, the CIBC took over Merrill Lynch Canada, one of the eight largest Canadian institutions.  Merrill Lynch International is owned by Thomas Fung (see below, China Vision) and Li Ka-Shing business associate.  Another prestigious old Canadian firm is Gordon Capital Corp. became 50.1 per cent owned by Richard Li, son of Li Ka-Shing, in October 1995.  That is two years after Richard began to work for the firm.  After Richard joined the board, William (Ken) Davidson, former vice-president and executive director of the CIBC, received a promotion to the board, and Bob Fung the position of vice-president.  His son Mark often travels on Team Canada trips to Asia.  Again, it is not only the financial leverage that should be noticed but the gain of influence this sector offers.  (S)

High technology

28.  Semi-Tech Corporation.  Semi-Tech Corporation is a Canadian multinational corporation based in Markham, Ontario.  It was formed from various public companies listed on several shock exchanges, including Toronto, Montreal, New York,  Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Frankfurt and Hong Kong, and has revenues of over US $3.5 billion.  This corporation, and its chairman James Ting in particular, have business ties with China.  Stanley Ho is the principal shareholder through his company Shun Tak (Hong Kong) and sits on Semi-Tech's board.  (UC)

29.  This company has concentrated in particular on information technology, establishing Semi-Tech Microcomputers Ltd., Semi-Tech MicroElectronics Corp., Semi-Tech Electronics, Singer and STM Systems Corp.  The last of these was established by the merger of Data Crown (Canada) and Canada Systems Group, two companies that count various federal government departments among their clients and some of whose employees are regularly in contract with Chinese diplomatic representatives.  Of particular note is the fact that Canada Systems Group had applied to undertake the development of COSICS, the Canadian On-line Secure Information and Communication System that was to link the Department of External Affairs, the RCMP, CSIS and National Defence.  The project was suspended by the federal government due to the lack of financial resources.  (S) 

30.  China Huaneng Group, Unipec Canada and Goldpark China Ltd.  On January 1997 Canadian newspapers announced that the Chinese companies China Huaneng Group Group Hong Kong Ltd. (CHG(HK)) and China International United Petroleum and Chemicals Co. (Unipec) had concluded an agreement whereby Huaneng would buy 70 percent of the shares of Unipec Canada Ltd.   Unipec Canada Ltd., in turns, holds 57 percent of the shares of Goldpark China Ltd. of Toronto which, holds exclusive world rights for the productions of photographic security systems.   CHG(HK) is a subsidiary of the fifteenth largest Chinese State Company, China Huaneng Group.  Unipec for its part is a giant of the Chinese oil industry which has sought in recent years to diversify its activities.  It is also famous for the many lawsuits against it and for its illegal transactions involving large arms sales to Iraq for oil.  (UC)

Entertainment and Media

31.  It has been known for several years that the Hong Kong triads, particularly Sun Yee On, control the Chinese entertainment industry.  In Canada, some promotion companies with affiliations to Chinese organized crime and the ChIS have organized tours for artists from China and Hong Kong.  Significant investments have also been made by these groups in the Canadian Chinese-language media, including the Chinese-language television industry which is integrated into the general Canadian television system.  (S)

32.  Charles Y.M. Kwan Productions.  Charles Kwan Yee Man15 has been active in the Asian live entertainment business industry for years through his companies, including china Cultural Promotions Limited and Charles Y.M. Kwan Promotions Inc.  In the course of his business activities Kwan is regularly in contact with prominent members of the Hung Lock and Sun Yee On triads.  He also maintains relations with the Chinese Free Masons (CFM) in Toronto which have always been used by the ChIS to identify potential sources and promote Chinse policies.  (S)

33.  North American Studio (Canada).  Although this company closed its doors in 1996, it was well known in police circles for its criminal origins.  Also using the names North American (Canada) Motion Picture Corp. and North American (Canada) Television Corp., this company has been under the control of the Sun Yee On triad since its beginning.  The firm attracted media attention recently as a result of the legal sage of Miranda Yuen, an employee of North American Studio and the ex-wife of the top boss of the Wo Hop To triad.  In the early 1990s, members of the Sun Yee On triad bought a warehouse in Markham, Ontario which was converted at a cost of $7 million into a film and television production studio.  The group has since been the subject of ongoing investigation by police authorities in connection with certain criminal activities.  Some of the company's executives were regularly in contact with representatives of the Chinese diplomatic missions in Canada and were regularly involved in Canadian political circles like servings as intermediaries in organizing a dinner between the mayors of Shanghai and Toronto.  (S)

34. China Vision and Fairchild Entertainment.  China Vision is a pay-TV station in Toronto, established by Francis Cheung in 1981.  In 1991 it had about 110,000 Canadian subscribers of Chinese origin in the Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver areas.  Pro-democracy groups across Canada submitted briefs to the CRTC alleging that Cheung received financial assistance from the Chinese government, and that China Vision's reports on China were approved and influenced by the government of that country.  (UC)

35.  In 1992, the CRTC entertained an initial offer of purchase for China Vision.  This offer was made by John Sham, a Toronto resident, Hong Kong film promoter and an employee of Television Broadcast Ltd. of Hong Kong.  Sham is an associate of Charles Heung, a senior officer of the Sun Yee On triad.  The potential buyers of China Vision included John Sham and North American (Canada) Television Production Corporation, which was affiliated with the Sun Yee On triad.16  This offer was withdrawn following information given to the CRTC by Canadian authorities.  (S)

36.  In 1993, Thomas Fung of Fairchild Communication Ltd. of Vancouver submitted an offer to purchase China Vision to the CRTC for CDN $9.25 million.  Fairchild Communications Ltd. is 80 per cent owned by Happy Valley Investments Ltd., also of Vancouver, and 20 per cent by Television Broadcasts Ltd. of Hong Kong, the largest global producer of Chinese-language programming.  Various Canadian groups of Chinese origin opposed Fairchild's purchase offer because they were concerned that this sale would open the door for the Chinese government to influence Canadian television news broadcasting.  They argue the station would be vulnerable to political pressure from the Chinese government, especially after 1997, and because the Hong Kong media often practiced censorship where China was concerned for fear of offending the government of that country.  Although the CRTC shared some of the groups' concerns, in October 1993 it approved the purchase of China Vision by Fairchild Communications Ltd, granting it a license for four years.  It should also be pointed out that Fung has bought an important amount of shares in Hollinger and Southam, two press giants in Canada.  (C)

37.  Hong Kong Telecommunications and Wharf Cable Ltd.  In March 1997, these two companies formed in consortium with Li Ka-Shing's Hutchinson Whampoa Ltd., Cheng Yu-Tong's New World Development Co. and Heung (Jimmy) Wah-Shing's Win Film Co.  Jimmy Heung is known in Hong Kong as a senior officer of the largest triad, Sun Yee On.  He is the younger brother of Heung Wah-Yim, the Dragon Head of this group, who was officially identified in 1992 by the US Senate's Standing Committee on Asian Organized Crime.  The output of these companies is used by the Canadian Chinese-language media.  It should be noted that the company was bought by another Hong Kong company, Fairchild Communications, and CITIC is also the owner of Hong Kong Telecom.  The productions of all the above mentioned companies are used by the Canadian Chinese language media.  This transactions highlights well the close relationship among Chinese business people, the triads and China's power.  (S)

Food-Services industry

38.  Tai Foong International.  Triad members or their associates are also involved in the food-services industy, witness the example of Tai Foong International of Mississauga, Ontario.  The company's chairman and managing director, David Lam, is affiliated with the Kung Lok triad.17  Tai Foong International sells seafood around the world.  The company has offices in Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal with headquarters in Mississauga.  It has divisions in the United States, specifically Las Vegas and Seattle, and in Hong Kong.  According to our information, Tai Foong International is believed to be involve in importing heroin into Canada from Hong Kong.18  In addition, various members of the management have for several years maintained regular contacts with Chinese trade and military representatives in Canada, organizing meetings, paid visits of Chinese delegations and so on.  Several, including David Lam, have travelled frequently to China on business.  (S)

Real estate and hotels

39.  Everywhere in the world the core of Chinese economic activity is located in large urban centres.  In Canada, the bulk of the country's economy is concentrated around a few large cities only.  Real estate has always been a preferred area for the Chinese, and several have built large fortunes from it.  In itself real estate is not a obvious threat to the security of Canada but it becomes an excellent vehicle to gain access to local politicians and their influence and power.  You own one building is one thing, you own 10 or 30 commercial buildings and your influence is considerable.  If you are located in the heart of the business activities, you are the focus of attention.  The business of centres of Toronto, Vancouver and in part Montreal are now in large portion owned by Hong Kong or Beijing.  (C)

40.  Grand Adex Properties Inc. and Concord Pacific Development Corp.  Grand Adex is wholly-owned by the Kaumo Hui and Li Ka-Shing families.  In 1987, the two tycoons' sons Terry Hui and Victor Li, helped Li Ka-Shing acquire 80 hectares of Expo 1986 land in Vancouver for Concord Pacific.  They are now pursuing a residential development mega-project estimated to be worth $3 billion.  In March 1997, Grand Adex and Concord Pacific repeated the same scenario by going into partnership with the Toronto company TrizecHahn Corp (80 percent foreign own), obtaining a $2 billion project and 18 hectares of prime land west of Skydome in downtown Toronto.  They also obtained an exclusive lease on the CN tower for the next 35 years with two possible 15-year extensions.  At 33, Terry Hui, who has now obtained Canadian citizenship, heads up these two companies and is considered the most important property developer in Vancouver.  (UC)

41.  World Financial Properties.  In 1992, when the Reichman brothers' Olympia and York Development company faced a serious financial crisis, the CIBC was the Reichmans' largest Canadian creditor, and the Bank of Hong Kong the largest overall creditor.  Li Ka-Shing's Dragon Holdings Ltd. acquired 51 percent of Olympia and York Development's New York office towers for $20 million, and, in 1996, bought Olympia with the assistance of the Bronfman family, renaming it World Financial Properties.  (UC)

42.  Ramada Hotels, Harbour Castle (Toronto) and others.  Large hotel chains and almost all the prestige hotels in Canadian urban centres are now owned by Chinese private or state interests.  This is an easy service sector and is used mainly to generate income while increasing property holdings.  Such is the case of the Ramada international chain, owned by Stanley Ho (25 hotels in Canada), the Sutton Place in downtown Toronto, acquired in 1993 for CDA $29 million and the Meridien Hotel in Vancouver.  The Harbour Castle Westin in Toronto was bought by Li Ka-Shing in 1981 at a price of $93 million and a further $20 million payment in 1989.  Other examples, the Carlton Inn and the Carlton Place in Toronto are owned by CITIC.  This, of course, is only a tiny part of what is to be found in Vancouver, Montreal and other Canadian centres.  (S)

Universities and research centers

Sections 43-45 dealing with the University of Toronto and University of Western Ontario are missing from our copy of the report.

Source Notes

 1   See Appendixes I and II, tables on Immigration from Hong Kong

 2   See Project Stopover.  CID/RCMP.

 3   In 1996 FORBES magazine estimated the "official" personal fortune of Li Ka-Shing at US$ 10.5 billion, Henry Fok Ying-Tung

      at $2.5 billion and Stanley Ho at $3.1 billion.  (UC)

 4   The United Front Work Department is one of the five components of the ChIS.    See CSIS Report 95-6/33, The Future of

      Hong Kong: New Dogma, Old Tricks

 5   In May 1996 the publisher of the Hong Kong tabloid Surprise Weekly, Leung Tin-wai, received two individuals in his office at

      height of the day.  They cut off his arms with a kitchen knife because the newspaper was preparing to publish an article 

      unfavourable to Beijing in relation to Hong Kong's return in July 1997.  (UC)

 6   Wong himself recently confirmed this information in a public conference in Hong Kong after defecting to Western authorities.

 7   See Project Sunset.  CID/RCMP 

 8   See Appendix III, Origin and Description of the Triads.

 9   See Appendix IV, Profile of Typical Triad Member.

10  See CSIS report Report 95-6/06, Organized Crime Links to the Intelligence Services of China and Taiwan.

11  See Appendix V, Guanxi or Networking.

12  Several thousands of Hondurian passports were reported stolen last year 

13  Stanley Ho, the Macao casino tycoon, is Honorary Counsel of Honduras in Macao.

14  Stanley Ho holds a monopoly on the six casinos on the Island of Macao which alone bring in US$6 billion a year.  (UC)

15  See Project Shehang.  CID/RCMP

16  See Project Shehang.  CID/RCMP

17  ibid.

18  ibid.




RCMP-CSIS Joint Review Committee



Joint RCMP Study

Information as of

24 June 1997

Translated text

Chinese Intelligence Services 

and Triads Financial Links in Canada

Draft Submitted

 to the RCMP-CSIS 

Joint Review Committee

24 June 1997


46.  All areas of the Canadian economy are targeted, but high technology is the one most at risk.  Several cases of theft of Canadian proprietary information and/or technology have been reported to and investigated by Canadian authorities.  For example, Ontario Hydro believes it was the victim of theft of information in the nuclear technology field by an individual of Chinese origin.  This individual sent unauthorized faxes (some containing hours worth of data) to a telephone number in China, associated with the State Science and Technology Commission.  In another case, a Chinese employee of a major computer company based in Canada was accused of copying the company's proprietary information onto diskette, for the purposes of selling the information to China.  In a third instance, a Canadian company alleged that one of their former employees, who had previously served in the Chinese military, stole proprietary information regarding energy technology and sold it to the Chinese government.  (S)

47.  The Chinese government also takes advantage of growing business ties between China and Canada to provide cover for intelligence activities.  For example, a company owned by a Chinese-Canadian sponsored what was ostensibly a Chinese business delegation to come to Canada.  In reality, the "delegation" was comprised of Ministry of State Security officials travelling to Canada to conduct an intelligence operation.  Another delegation that travelled to Canada under the cover of representing a Chinese company was actually composed of officers from a sensitive sector of the People's Liberation Army, who were attempting to make arrangements to purchase secure communications technology for military purposes.  

48.  The ChIS do not hesitate to expend great energy on pursuing their activities.  They have established companies on Canadian soil solely for traditional and economic espionage purposes.  These companies are used as cover for ChIS agents to help gain them an entree into Canadian business circles.  These front companies have been observed to have contacts with the triads in Canada.  (S)


49.  One of the means used by the Hong Kong business people and triads associated to Beijing is to seek influence and support among Canadian politicians by financing political parties.  This practice, is not unique to Canada.  Recently, a stir was caused in the US media over the illegal Chinese funding of the Democratic Party.  Over 2,000 American companies suspected of being used by Chinese are currently under investigation by the FBI.  In 1993, Britain was wracked by a similar scandal when over £1.5 million (or nearly CDN $3 million) was donated to the British Conservative Party by Hong Kong financiers such as Li Ka-Shing (CDA $1.8 million), Stanley Ho ($200,000), Tsu Tsin-Tong ($100,000) and even C.H. Tung ($70,000) who is now Beijing's man in Hong Kong.  (C)

50.  Canada also allows "Canadian corporate citizens" to make financial contributions to political parties, but the parties are obliged by the Canada Elections Act to report the amounts.  Many of the companies identified in this research have contributed sometimes several tens of thousands of dollars to the two traditional political parties, the Liberals and the Conservatives.  As examples, in 1994, Merrill Lynch Canada gave the Liberal party $20,432.94.  Between 1991 and 1194, Husky Oil, which is owned by Li Ka-Shing, alone contributed over $100,000 to the same two parties.  North American Studio (Canada), which was affiliated with the triads, also contributed.  Set within their Canadian and regional contexts, the total amount of these contributions to local organizations is substantial.  Further, an "entrepreneur" may have several businesses in an area that will also contribute to the parties' funds.  In the end, large sums are distributed by various hands but from the same wallet.  It is precisely the total amount distributed at several places that makes the interplay of influence and political 'friendships" so important.  (S)

51.  The information presented here represent only a very partial view of the real situation and brings questions to the amount of influence gain through donations.  To obtain a complete picture, further research would be needed.  (S)


52.  The key to the Chinese riddle lies in understanding the unique culture of the Chinese people.20  The core of this culture is to be found in the importance of developing and maintaining a very broad network of privileged contracts based on the fact of being Chinese, your backers (Hou Tui) and an individual's obligations towards others (Guanxi).  Furthermore, no other ethnic group in the world can equal the economic power of the Chinese diaspora.  Their numbers are estimated at over 60 million, and their financial power is put conservatively at over US $2 trillion.  With the wave of immigration from Hong Kong, this financial power has grown again exponentially.  Most Southeast Asian countries have long found their national economics to be dominated sometimes by as much as 90 per cent, by the Chinese community.  While not supporting its political views, most Chinese retain a strong attachment to the Motherland remains.  The Chinese diaspoa is present on every continent and has always been, willingly or not, the point of entry into and the centre of operations in a foreign country for the ChIS and the triads.  (S) 


53.  Because of its strategic alliance with some important and influential Hong Kong business people, and with organized crime syndicates, the Chinese leadership appears to be today in a position to developing a potential of influence over the international market and particularly on the Canadian economy and political life of the country.  Why Canada?  Because Canada always been somehow favourable in China.  It has also an important Chinese community and very important economic tides with Hong Kong.  Having bought significant real-estate holdings and established companies in Canada, gain some access to political leaders and business people, it is now in a position to seek power by influence.  What make it difficult to argue against it the fact that most of it has been done legally.  Even more, the threat is manifold and very elaborated in a complicated web of businesses.  It diffuses itself through a not so tangible network.  If you look at a single individual, the threat does not seem to be there but because of their associations and their alliances with China, the facts analysed lead to the believe that a gain of influence is been the object of a concerted plan and that could constitute a threat to Canada.  (S)

54.  Some Chinese owners are now in a position to use the Canadian companies they have bought and some political channels that they have developed to obtain subsidies for research and even classified contracts.  Once access is gained, little is in place to prevent them from repatriating the fruits of the research or classified information to China.  (S)

55.  The triads and their associates also used these positions to transfer large sums of money derived from criminal activities into the Canadian economy.  Buying Canadian property or a Canadian business affords a "window" of opportunity to pursue their illegal activities in Canada, such as money-laundering and drug-trafficking.  (S)  

56.  One of the important dimension of the Chinese financial holdings is its ownership over important Canadian real estate.  The nerve centre of the Canadian economy is concentrated in three or four large urban centres.  Already, a large part of these financial centres are in the hands of Chinese interests.21  Canada is not the only country where we observe this situation.  One has only to look at the profile of the Southeast Asian economy or the investigations currently underway in the United States.  The Canadian economy, however, is more vulnerable because of many legislative loop hole governing finance and the concentration of financial power in the hands of few.  The potential of threat also lies in the fact that, at present, a foreign power, China, seems to be in a position to influence the Canadian economy and politics.  (S)

57.  Several Canadian companies in the security field, such as computer management and video surveillance, are now owned by Chinese interests.  When a contract is awarded by federal departments to private companies, the usual security investigations are done on the persons who will eventually be working on a project or installing equipment.  Now a new threat seems to be itself in relation with the ownership of some companies.  The case of Data Crown is a good example of this situation.  Although some verifications to investigate foreign companies are done by a group of people at the Department of Public Work, it is not impossible that this shortcoming has already been exploited by no one is able at the moment to answer this question with any certainty because of the complexity of the ramifications involving Chinese companies owned or the ones with some special interest with China.  (S)

58.  There is no longer any doubt that the emigration process in Hong Kong has been abused, and that individuals are being corrupted in some of the Western immigration services.  The entry of triad members and the cases of 13 illegal migrants laid against an ex-judge of the immigration services are not the only cases of malpractices and had caused in the past problems to the immigration system.  This situation places Canada in a vulnerable position regarding illegal immigration and shows the interest by the Chinese of the Canadian immigration system.  (S) 

59.  China remains one of the greatest ongoing threats to Canada's national security and Canadian industry.  There is no longer any doubt that the ChIS have been able to gain influence on important sectors of the Canadian economy, including education, real estate, high technology, security and many others.  In turn, it gave them access to economic, political and some military intelligence of Canada.  The great difficulties in determining the threat is that it is diverse and multi-layered.  It diffuses itself through elaborated networks hold by a cultural practise that still is not well understood by Western Services.  (S)


1.  An expanded task force including analysts from at least the RCMP, CSIS, DFAIT, Immigration Canada and Revenue Canada (Customs and Excise) should be formed to pursue the research begun by this document.  (S)

  • To assess the actual control of Chinese companies over the Canadian economy. (S)

  • To review who the influential Canadian figures are on the boards of the Canadian companies. (S)

  • To consult the FBI, which has recently undertake a similar study; such consultation could prove mutually beneficial. (S)

2.  Support a series of presentations to CSIS regional directorates and RCMP divisions to alert operational managers to the need to investigate Chinese activities the better to grasp the links among the Chinese Intelligence Services, the triads and entrepreneurs in the service of Chinese Companies.  (S)

3.  Organize a series of presentations for senior members of the Canadian security and intelligence community.  (S)

4.  Organize presentations for specific government departments affected by the problem other than those in the intelligence community, such as Justice and Industry.  (S)

5.  Undertake review of security companies which have installed security systems for federal government departments and Crown corporations to determine the real control and ownership of the companies and the potential risk to the integrity of the systems.  (S) 

6.  Carry out thorough research to determine the extent of contributions to Canadian political parties by Chinese companies established in Canada.  (S)

7.  Produce a strategic analysis of the activities and involvement of the government of China and the triads in Chinese entertainment and media in Canada.  (S)



1997 (March)504268772










Nova Scotia


New Brunswick












British Columbia


NW Territories






     (corrected summations)


1.  The origin of the triads remains blurred by romantic legend, heroic myths and patriotic folklore.  "Triad" is an English term given to describe the three-sized symbols found on many of the early flags and banners of various Chinese political and social organizations.  The three sides represent the three primary forces of the universe-heave, earth and man.  Triads originated in China during the 17th century in the form of secret societies.  They were dedicated to the political cause of overthrowing the Mongolian (Manchu (or Ch'ing) Dynasty.  While their original intentions were patriotic in nature, by the late 1800s, triads had evolved into widely feared criminal societies.

2.  During the upheavals in China in the early part of this century, they aligned themselves with the nationalist Chiang Kai Shek, himself a major triad leader.  When the communists seized control of mainland China in 1949, these syndicates fled to Hong Kong and Taiwan.

3.  Triads today remain extremely secretive and closed criminal fraternities.  The triads also developed highly ritualized initiation ceremonies meant to instill a strong sense of secrecy, and more importantly, loyalty to other triad members.  Thirty-six oaths, most dealing with loyalty to the triad, traditionally are part of these imitations.  For example, Oath number 4 states: "I will always acknowledge my Hung brothers when identify themselves.  If I ignore them, I will be killed by myriads of swords."  Oath number 20 states that if a brother gives away the secret ceremonies of the society, may he be eaten by a tiger or have his eyes bitten out by a snake.  Each oath ends with a promise of death if the oath is broken.

4.  An individual gains considerable benefits from being a triad member.  These benefits include:


1)    FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT - membership gives the automatic right to operate socially or criminally in an area controlled

       by the triad.

2)    FINANCIAL AID - when arrested by Police, he can rely on fellow members to provide financial aid for legal expenses and

       his family.

3)    CONFIDENCE - triad members who are involved in syndicated crime require continuous contact with their fellow

       conspirators and the fact that all have taken a oath instills a greater degree of mutual trust.

4)    FEAR - the fact that a criminal is a triad member and tells his victim so, often reduces the necessity for violence.

5)    FACE - this is very important and there is no doubt that triad membership increases one's status in the criminal


6)    POWER OR PHYSICAL SUPPORT - if involved in a dispute he can summon fellow members to his aid to intimidate or

       assault the opposing party.

5.  All triad societies display some degree of hierarchy, and a typical triad has members organized by rank.  Each rank carries a title and a numerical value, based on triad ritual.  The leader of a triad is known as the "Dragon Head' or the Mountain Lord, and carries the rank "489."  Other "office bearer" positions include the deputy head of a branch also known as Assistant Mountain Lord, who carries the rank "438".  This rank goes as well to the Vanguard and Incense Master, both of whom officiate at ceremonies.  The White Paper Fan, who holds the rank "415", is the advisor on administration, finance and organization of the branch.  The Red Pole, who holds the rank "426", is the head fighter and battle strategist.  The Straw Sandal, holding the rank "432", is responsible for organizing battle and meeting with other societies.  He also delivers demand notes when necessary, for ransom or protection money.  All other triad members are know as ordinary members or soldiers, and hold the rank of "49".    

6.  the relationships among individual triad members are based on ties between "Dai-Lo's" (big brothers), and "Sai-Lo's" (little brothers).  The Sai-Lo's give loyalty, support and sometimes money to their Dai-Lo, in exchange for protection and advice.

7.  Triad societies are in fact a collection of loose-knit groups or gangs rather than a complete monolithic criminal organization, such as the Mafia whose power is diffused from a central core through an organized chain of command.  Instead, triad members frequently branch out into their own criminal enterprises.  While the triad leadership does not always initiate and direct the criminal activities of all the triad members, triad clearly serve as international networks to facilitate such activity.  Moreover, monetary profits from criminal activity of triad members often flow to the top in indirect ways, such as through gifts.

8.  Even though it is now a criminal offence even to be a member of a triad in Hong Kong, that city is the undisputed capital of modern day triads.  While exact numbers are difficult to corroborate, according to the Royal Hong Kong Police there are today in Hong Kong over 50 triad societies, of which 15 to 20 regularly come to the attention of the police through their involvement in crime.  The clandestine nature of the triad movement precludes an accurate assessment of the total number of triad members, society membership ranging in size by considerable degrees.  In Hong Kong, triads can be divided into four main categories:

The Chiu Chao Group

9.  This group consists of four criminal syndicates.  The oldest of the four is know as the Fuk Yee Hing and it continues to operate in Hong Kong.  The membership of this triad is comprised mainly of descendants of the earliest immigrants from China.  The youngest triad of this group is the Sun Yee On triad, established in 1919.  The Sun Yee On Triad is currently the most powerful of the Hong Kong-based triads with extensive international interests (United States, New Zealand and Canada.)

The Big Four

10.  This group is composed of nine triad organizations whose name characteristically starts with one of the following words: Tang, Tung, Luen, and Ma.  This group is involved in extortion, prostitution, and robbery.  The Luen Kung Lok is one of the most important triads in Canada. 

The Wo Group

11.  Thirteen triad organizations now belong to the Wo, including the Wo Hop To and Wo Shing Wo.  The Wo triads are principally noted for their large-scale robberies and gangland-style killings.

The 14K

12.  The 14K is the third largest society of modern times.  The society was formed in 1949 by refugees from the Chinese mainland.  14K has a large number of sub-branches and independent groups.  This triad has become international in scope with branches in Japan, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Europe, United States and Canada.  


13.  After 1949, the triads also fled to Taiwan.  Today there are believed to be 700 or so gangs and triads in Taiwan.  One of the most famous and largest is the United Bamboo Triad.  The United Bamboo has an estimated membership of over 20,000.  It now operates internationally in the United States, Canada and throughout the Far East.  The group is particularly active in Los Angeles, Houston, New York and Vancouver, and has been linked to murder, kidnapping, alien smuggling, illegal gambling, and loan sharking.


These profiles are used by the Immigration Control Office and the RCMP Liaison Office in Hong Kong to assess applicants.

Profile A: Young Adult24

Sex: Male

Age: 11-25 

Occupation:  The status of an individual can range within this category depending on the position within a society.  At lower levels, some well be unemployed and will be living off their girlfriends, who in many cases may be willing prostitutes.  If employed, employment will be in a business of a cash generating nature, e.g. hawkers, night clubs, restaurants, interior decorating firms, fish markets, health clubs, massage parlours, mahjong schools, billiard halls, sports or martial arts clubs, film or video distribution companies, and transportation companies.  Generally, the education level will not be beyond a secondary education.  

Travel: Asian Counties, North America.

Residences Outside Country of Origin: Generally, this group will not have real estate outside their country of origin.

Foreign Counties Used for Criminal Activities:  Although this list is by no means exhaustive, North America, Thailand China, Taiwan, Singapore, Nepal and Vietnam have been identified as primary areas of operation.

Outside Activities: Gambling, Horse races, triad affiliation.

Arrest Convictions:  Juvenile record for minor violence, petty thefts, gambling, fighting, and weapons offenses.  In later years, a more serious record of crimes of a more sophisticated nature will be noted: i.e. extortion, pimping, drug trafficking, triad affiliations, bookmaking and loan sharking.  This would indicate an individual being a member of a youth gang and then graduating to an affiliated street gang and then as a senior gang member.  Some may have tattoos such as dragon, phoenix, snake, etc.

Profile B: Mature Member25

Sex: Male

Age: Over 25 

Occupation:  Within this age bracket, it is still possible to see some of the characteristics of younger members, however, with age it can be assumed that if triad associated, the individual will move farther and farther away from the actual criminal activities and will appear as a manager/owner of a cash generating business.  Subjects will possess a substantial amount of wealth and would apply under the business immigration program, but may also appear in other immigration categories.  Likely has had involvement in past or currently with businesses listed in Profile A on previous page.  

Education:  The educational level will generally be no more than a secondary education, although some exceptions do exist.

Travel: Extensive in Asia and will show considerable travel to North America prior to making application for immigration.

Residences Outside Country of Origin: May have an interest in North American businesses which will likely be in the form of a hotel, restaurant or finance affiliated business.  May already own property and/or business in Canada.

Foreign Counties Used for Criminal Activities:  Asian countries such as China, Vietnam and Thailand for drug-related activities, and Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore for money laundering.

Outside Activities: Will be involved in the business community to the greatest extent possible in order to give the appearance of legitimacy and may be on the executive or an active member of many well know charitable organizations such as the Boy Scouts, Rotary clubs, etc.  By donating to charitable causes and organizations, may attempt to cultivate political friends and make a habit of associating with prominent members of the community to gain influence.  May be a gambler, frequent the races and attend triad-associated functions.

Arrest Convictions:  As in Profile A, a progression may be noted with criminal convictions in early years.  Later on, subject may have a clean record, but intelligence may reflect triad association and/or gambling offences or being a triad member.  This would indicate an individual may have progressed through a triad hierarchy and is now controlling a certain criminal group.


1.  Influenced by the Chinese, but practised in a variety of Asian societies, "guanxi" means to gain access to social resources, acquire social status and advance economically.  Although this practice is not totally foreign to Westerners, they would generally apply individual initiative to advance themselves economically and socially.  Asians have mastered the art of gaining advancement through the development of a network of relations.

2.  Asian society is relational, while Western society is an individualistic society.  Asian society regulated by the collective morality of relational networks and the rules of law plays a secondary role.  Western society, on the other hand, is a legalistic society in which the individual is subordinate to the law.  "These major differences produce an Asian society that sees behaviour on a moral continuum which proceeds from black through shades of gray to white, while Western society only sees behaviour that is black and white."26

3.  When a relational society is coupled with a monetary objective, any venture that is profitable can and will be pursued.  Therefore, one can say that Asian crime is a form of business and Asian criminals organize and conduct their criminal activities just as they conduct any business; through vast networks of relations.  A globally distributed population and an influential and powerful infrastructure in virtually every country in the world, enables Chinese crime groups to carry out transnational and domestic criminal  activities on a much bigger scale than the Italian mafia, the Colombian drug cartels and Russian-based organized crime.


1.  the dynamics of Asian's extra ordinary growth cannot be understood without a thorough examination of the Overseas Chinese also known as Hua Quiao.  The Overseas Chinese community is a borderless nation, united by ties of family, clan, language and motherland.  It is estimated that there are some 60 million Overseas Chinese who contribute much to the overall economic strength of their ancestral homeland, providing ready-made linkages and networks (guanxi) for legal and illegal business.

2.  Hua Quiao influence, power and wealth are disproportionate to its size.  "In some Asian countires, the small population of Overseas Chinese control an amazing percentage of the economy.  in Thailand, the Overseas Chinese comprise only 10 per cent of the population (8 million) but have 60 per cent control over the economy: in Malaysia 35 percent and 60 percent; in the Philippines, 2 percent and 60 percent; in Vietnam, 5 per cent and 60 per cent; in Indonesia, 2 percent and 85 percent.  In countries where Chinese have been the dominant group for much longer, the percentages are higher: in Singapore, 75 per cent and 95 percent; in Taiwan, 100 percent and 100 per cent. 27

3.  "The Overseas Chinese community has one of the world's largest pools of liquid capital, amounting approximately US$ 2 trillion.  Their 'GNP' is estimated to be one quarter larger that of China, that is, approximately US$ 450 billion.  This is a staggering amount considering that Japan with a population double that of the Overseas Chinese, has only US$ 3 trillion in assets in 1990."28   This power base is the result of a pragmatic cohesion of ethnic solidarity aided by official and unofficial networks.  This cohesion is complemented by sophisticated resources supporting information and technology on a global scale. 

Source Notes

20  See Appendix VI, The Chinese Diaspora.

21  For example, Li Ka-Shing owns several building in the core of Toronto financial district.  It is also estimated that he currently

     owns one-sixth of downtown Vancouver.  Among some of his projects, he bought the largest undeveloped site in any downtown

     core in Canada: the lands around the CN Tower and obtained with it the exclusive right to use the tower for $2 billion dollars, 

     Expo '86 lands in Vancouver for $3billion dollars, Harbor Castle Westin in Toronto ($93 million (1981)).

22  Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Permanent Resident Databank, April 1997

23  ibid.

24. Garry W.F. Clement, RCMP (Hong Kong) and Brian McAdam, Immigration Canada (Hong Kong).  

     Triads and Other Organized Crime Groups.

25  ibid.

26.  Willard R. Myers III, Guanxi and Its Role in Asian Crime: A System of Social Organization and Resources Distribution

       Is the Foundation of Organized Crime, Center for the Study of Asian Organized Crime, 1995

27.  Douglas D. Daye, A Law Enforcement Sourcebook of Asian Crime and Cultures, Tactics and Mindsets.  

      CBC Press, New York, 1997, pp. 170-171

28.  Mark Craig, Chinese Organised Crime,  Queensland Police Service, Australia, 1996, p.10.

Dr. Nancy Olivieri

Dr. Nancy Olivieri a scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children and clinical professor at the University of Toronto discovered in 1998 evidence suggesting that a drug she was testing might be life threatening. Apotex Inc. which partly funded her research, insisted that she should not publish her results and threatened legal action if she were to inform the patients in the trials. The U of T refused to intervene, in spite of its responsibilities for public health and for scientific integrity. Critics observe that the U of T was at that time negotiating with Apotex Inc. for a multimillion dollar donation for a new building.

After independent investigations vindicated Dr. Olivieri, she took a leave of absence to pursue her research. In 2004, after six years of legal proceedings, Olivieri reached a settlement with Apotex which included a substantial payment to her. However, the company then refused to pay, claiming that Olivieri had violated the terms of the settlement by 'disparaging' the company or its drug.

In 2008, after another four years of litigation, Apotex was ordered by the Ontario Superior Court to perform all the terms of the settlement. The company immediately announced its intention to challenge this ruling, and launched a new lawsuit against Dr. Olivieri.

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During a subsequent investigation conducted by the Military Police Complaints Commission, all but one of 22 potential witnesses subpoenaed by the Commission declined to testify, allegedly after receiving threatening letters from the Department of Justice. Only Colvin agreed to testify and his allegations became public in October 2009.

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Richard Colvin took the place of envoy Glyn Berry, who was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. (PAWEL DWULIT FOR THE TORONTO ...

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Perry Dunlop

Constable Perry Dunlop, a police officer in Cornwall, Ontario, uncovered evidence of an alleged pedophile ring. When he discovered that Cornwall police were not taking action to prosecute the suspects he alerted the Childrens' Aid Society. As a result, he was charged with contravening his duties under the Police Act. He was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing, as judges ruled that his duties to Children’s Aid superseded his responsibilities as a police officer. Dunlop subsequently left Cornwall and moved to the west coast to escape taunts and threats against himself and his family.

A massive petition from Cornwall residents eventually spurred an OPP probe "Project Truth' which laid 114 charges against 15 men. These mostly foundered for various reasons, but in other prosecutions five paedophiles with connections to the members of the alleged ring were eventually convicted. Once the court cases were complete, a long-promised public inquiry was launched, which has been the subject of much controversy. In 2008 Dunlop was jailed for 7½ months for refusing to testify at the inquiry, saying that he had lost confidence in the justice system.

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Dr. John O'Connor

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Payeur was subsequently moved to a tiny office and ordered to reproduce his massive computer-generated reports using only a pencil and desk calculator, without access to the source data. When he failed this impossible task he was given a punitive performance appraisal rating him the lowest grade possible on all 11 attributes, thus rendering him unemployable. He appealed this harsh treatment up to the Supreme Court of Canada without success. During the kafka-esque hearings his bosses admitted under oath that they were facilitating the theft of public funds, but no action was ever taken against any of them.

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by Bernard Payeur, March 22, 2013

Linda Merk

Linda Merk discovered that the president and business manager of Ironworkers Union Local 771 were double dipping on their travel expenses, so she raised the matter "in house” to union senior management and was fired. The union argued that double-dipping was not explicitly prohibited by its bylaws. Merk fought against her dismissal all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, which in a precedent-setting decision, ruled in her favour.

  • Supreme Court: She was right | | Nov 25, 2005

Whistleblower Linda Merk has lost thousands of dollars, been without her job for four years, and fought at four levels of court -- but a win in the ...

Dr. Barry Armstrong

Dr. Barry Armstrong is the military doctor who in 1993 challenged his superiors over the death of a Somali, Achmed Aruush. Military reports claimed that the Somali had been shot in the front, that Airborne soldiers were defending the base and that "everybody behaved exactly as they were supposed to." But Armstrong's examination found that Aruush had been shot in the back.

Fearing that the incident would be swept under the carpet, Armstrong shared his concerns with his wife Jennifer, who took her husband's story to the press, triggering a public outcry for an inquiry. Among the attempts to smear Armstrong: Lt.-Col. Carol Mathieu described him as "certifiable" and others said that he had plans to sell morphine on the black market.

The Somalia inquiry ultimately exposed a sordid story of failed military leadership and an apparent cover-up that reached into high places. The final report excoriated many of the top officers in the Canadian Forces including three separate Chiefs of the Defence Staff.

  • Somalia Affair: The whistleblower | CBC Archives

Barry Armstrong speaks for the first time about what he believes happened in ... Dr. Russell Brown, a Canadian anesthesiologist in Somalia, agreed with Maj.

Bob Thomson

On 11 September 1973, General Augusto Pinochet and the Armed Forces of Chile overthrew the democratic government of President Salvador Allende. In the violence that followed, thousands of Chileans were killed or disappeared and tens of thousands were detained, tortured and imprisoned.

Bob Thomson, a young employee of the Canadian foreign aid programme (CIDA) saw secret telexes from the then Canadian ambassador to Chile, Andrew Ross, recommending that Canada swiftly recognize Pinochet and refuse entry to those fleeing his regime. Concerned that the government was being misinformed, Thomson leaked the cables to a Member of Parliament.

This created a huge controversy, as a result of which Ottawa reversed its foreign policy and in the following years, Canada brought 7,000 Chilean refugees out of one of the most brutal Latin American dictatorships and welcomed them to new lives in Canada.

Thomson was never able to work again in the public service. On the 40-year anniversary of the coup, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression awarded Thomson its 2013 Integrity Award.

  • Bob Thomson: Blowing the whistle on Chile's 1973 brutality | National Post | December 6, 2013

When one of my colleagues identified me as that whistleblower, the Chilean-Canadian got up, ...


Selwyn Pieters was fired after going public about wrongdoing at the Immigration and Refugee Board, while the board said it axed him for tarnishing its image by lying to the media. He argued in Federal Court documents that his dismissal was in retaliation for blowing the whistle.

Lesley Anthony and Jean Bowen were hailed as heroes after they secretly videotaped the plight of an elderly woman in a Versa-Care Long-Term-Care Home. Lesley Anthony is being accused of professional misconduct for her actions.

Jane Shorten and Mike Frost were both employees of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) which conducts electronic surveillance: CSE is the Canadian counterpart of the NSA in the USA. Shorten and Frost revealed that CSE was spying on Canadians (such as Margaret Trudeau and Quebec separatists) and on citizens of friendly countries (for example acting on behalf of Britain’s secret service to monitor dissenting ministers in Margaret Thatcher's cabinet).

Pierre Blais, a government research chemist in the 1980's, became concerned with the potential harmful effects of breast implants on women. When he was invited to testify as an expert witness in lawsuits involving the implants, the department ordered him not to communicate his findings, and blocked his appearance. He wrote memos asking for further investigation and a voluntary halt to sales of the implants. After increasingly stifling his research, the government fired him in 1989. He was reinstated by court order, but left to work independently in his field.

Bruce Brine who had 22 years of policing and a 1994 governor-general's award for exemplary service, was fired from his job as chief of the Halifax ports police in 1995 after he made allegations that senior officials with the Canada ports police were getting kickbacks from the Hells Angels. The ports police were disbanded in 1998 and the ongoing investigations were abandoned -- just as they were in Vancouver in 1997. Much of the material from the files of those investigations was listed as missing when Mounties began to pursue his obstruction complaint. Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission awarded him a cash settlement, an apology and a letter of reference from the port authority.

Gary Lovett got fired for telling the media that Canada's base in Afghanistan didn't have adequate fire-fighting gear. Though his pay came from the Canadian government, it flowed through a contractor, SNC-Lavalin.

Detective Ron Robertson came forward in 1999 with concerns that the Edmonton force had been infiltrated by organized crime. In January 2000, it was revealed that the Alberta RCMP had been investigating allegations of biker infiltration into Edmonton city police for seven years. While various police investigations have found nothing amiss, CBC Radio investigators have continued to uncover more evidence to support Robertson's claims.

Michael Sanders, financial analyst, Office of the Superintendent for Financial Institutions, blew the whistle on the absence of sufficient safeguards to protect taxpayers against the collapse of major financial institutions. He was fired.

Bernard Dussault, chief actuary, Canada pension plan, reported that he was asked to modify numbers to paint a more positive state of the CPP. He was fired.


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