A former international student recruiter with the University of Winnipeg must comply with an order to repay nearly $40,000 plus legal costs to three Chinese students.
The students pre-paid up to $3,000 a month to Ronald Kin Sang Chong for room, board and other services, only to wind up living in what they described as “intolerable” conditions.
On Monday, Manitoba’s Court of Appeal refused to hear the case, meaning the money must be paid back to Ching Man Wan, Yan Ting Lai and Wai Tsang, all natives of Hong Kong.
All three took Chong to Manitoba’s Residential Tenancies Branch in an effort to get back the money they paid for a basement bedroom, meals, tutoring and transportation.
The trio said they were watched by a security camera in the home, fed unhealthy leftovers instead of fresh meals, and their use of electricity and access to their rooms was restricted by Chong.
Chong argued he provided them meals and lodging for free as a “cultural service” and produced a written agreement that contained a clause saying the pre-payments wouldn’t be returned “under any circumstances.”
RTB officer Michelle Saper found Chong’s “cultural service” claim to be “highly implausible” and ruled he had tried to circumvent provincial law.
Chong’s recruitment contract with the university was cancelled after a complaint was raised with the school.