A raid on a mansion in Toronto, Canada last month may have uncovered more than just illegal gambling. Known as Project End Game, police found a huge operation that included a casino catering to high-rollers and possible human trafficking, and it was later revealed that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may have once met the man behind the operations, Chinese national Wei Wei. The investigation into the casino continues, and the latest revelations are more than a little troubling. Like something out of a James Bond flick, Wei Wei may have been a Chinese government operative assigned to infiltrate governments and influence politicians.
Global News reports that Canadian intelligence believes the casino may have been connected to the Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations (CACA), a pro-Beijing group that represents around 100 Chinese associations in Canada. It reportedly works with Chinese state officials to foster better relations between the two countries, but some assert that it is really nothing more than a cover fabricated by China to launch legal and illegal activity in countries around the world.
This hypothesis seems to be supported by both Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, which have been investigating networks that might be tied to China and organized crime. The link to the casino comes directly through Wei Wei, a business partner of CACA’s chairman, Yongtao Chen. According to sources, those links are “mind-blowing” and point to transnational cartels run by China that are operating in Toronto and Vancouver, and which are running a number of illegal casinos across the country in order to launder money and conduct their infiltration measures.
The mansion that housed the illegal casino was better equipped than some established gambling venues. It reportedly offered baccarat tables for as much as $20,000 per hand and even had a high-end restaurant with a maître d’. The mansion is said to have 53 rooms, all of which were used for gambling and alleged sex trafficking.
Wei Wei, who is to stand trial next month, is a director of a company that purchased two Toronto hotels in 2017 for $75 million. Listed along with him as a director in that company are Chen, as well as another individual, Xing Yue Chen. Police have not asserted that the hotels were purchased with illegal funds, but, with the scale of the investigation being so big, there are still plenty of stones to be turned over.
CACA is said to be tied to United Front, what China President Xi Jinping describes as a “magic weapon” to push the Chinese Communist Party’s agenda abroad. David Mulroney, who previously served as Canada’s ambassador to China, asserts, “There is a very tight, incestuous relationship between organized crime in China and within diaspora communities, and the United Front. Co-opting criminal networks is one of the Party’s preferred tools for the infiltration of target organizations and communities for foreign interference operations.”
China has reportedly been able to infiltrate real estate and casino networks abroad to push its agenda, according to Canadian intelligence officers, to gain access to political heavyweights. This could be why the country has had such a difficult time getting its casino money-laundering scandal under control.