B.C. Casino Money Launderer was ‘Wrong Target’ in 2020 Slaying

A notorious casino money launderer who died in a hail of bullets in a Japanese restaurant in Richmond, Metro Vancouver, was not the intended target, according to prosecutors.

Jian Jun Zhu, left, was shot dead at a Vancouver-area sushi restaurant in September 2020, but his dining companion Paul Jin, right, was the intended target, according to prosecutors. (Image: Pechanga.net)

Jian Jun Zhu was the operator of Silver International, an underground bank with links to drug cartels that washed hundreds of millions of dollars through Vancouver-area casinos.

But on September 18, 2020, Zhu was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and dining with the wrong man, when Richard Reed, 25, allegedly fired seven rounds of a Norinco 1911 semi-automatic pistol into the restaurant.

The real target was Zhu’s companion Paul “King” Jin, an alleged illegal gambling operator who used Silver International to launder money, according to prosecutors. Jin was injured in the attack but survived.

Murder for Hire

In opening submissions for Reed’s first-degree murder trial last week, Crown prosecutor Rusty Antonuk said the jury would hear testimony from a friend of the defendant, referred to only as “ME.” Reed allegedly told ME that he had killed the wrong man.

“I anticipate the witness will say that Mr. Reed said to him that he did it for $6,000, that the target was sitting by the corner of the glass window, but that he shot the wrong guy,” Antonuk said. “The wrong person got killed. And now the people who hired him are upset.”

Antonuk did not say who hired Reed nor their motive for wanting Jin dead. But he did claim members of the group that ordered the assassination were inside the restaurant at the time of the attack.

“The evidence will show that Mr. Reed had direct and indirect contact with people inside the restaurant in and around the time of the shooting,” Antonuk said. “And the evidence will show that Mr. Reed was surveilling the restaurant prior to committing the murder.”

Reed also told ME that another man named “Jas” was inside the restaurant and that “Jas sent Reed a photo of Paul Jin with a wound to the cheek and said that he killed the wrong guy,” according to Antonuk.

Zhu Prosecution Fiasco

Zhu and his wife Qin were charged in 2017 in a case that was billed as Canada’s biggest ever money laundering prosecution. This was the culmination of “Operation E-Pirate,” a massive RCMP investigation into criminal money laundering networks.

But the case collapsed in 2019 when prosecutors inadvertently disclosed the name of a key secret government witness during a standard evidence disclosure. The presiding judge stayed the case, determining that to continue with the trial would place the witness at “high risk of death.”

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