Three charged in Vancouver illegal gaming house bust

Three people have been charged with keeping a common gaming house in the wake of an October 2020 police bust at a Vancouver residence.

Police were called to 200-block West 45th Ave. after someone who saw evidence of illegal gaming called 911.

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia’s (CFSEU-BC) Joint Illegal Gaming Investigation Team (JIGIT) was immediately involved and began executing search warrants.

On March 16, police said evidence indicated the house was being rented for the purpose of setting up and operating an alleged illegal gaming establishment.

Among items seized were $220,775; poker chips, tables and playing cards; score sheets with client names and cash balance sheets; cellphones; and a money counter.

The individuals facing charges are:

  • Mun Bun Ng, 55, of Vancouver
  • Rong Zan Wu, 45, of Burnaby
  • Wen Bo Li ,47, also of Burnaby.

“CFSEU-BC continues to target all aspects of criminal activities including illegal gaming as a part of a coordinated organized crime enforcement strategy in B.C.,” said JIGIT Insp. Mandeep Mooker in a statement. “Illegal gaming activities undermine the integrity of our financial institutions and allow criminals to secure the proceeds of crime not just for personal benefit but to fuel additional crimes. Enforcement action such as this one has a strong immediate impact and long-term disruption implications.”

Illegal gaming houses are nothing new in B.C.

B.C. gaming houses

Peter German’s 2018 report into money laundering in Lower Mainland casinos notes criminal enforcement of gaming laws by police reaches back a century to the opium dens and illegal gaming houses.

“Although the legal complexion of gaming has changed a great deal over the past century, police enforcement has tended to remain complaint-driven and focused on illegal houses,” German said.

His report noted such houses have been associated with loansharking.

From 2005 to 2008, 284 gaming incidents were reported; 183 involved illegal common gaming houses, he noted.

“Twenty-five reports involved common gaming houses operated by organized crime figures or frequented by gang members,” German’s report said. “Two were the scenes of murder or attempted murder. Children were abducted from one gaming house to force the payment of a debt.”

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