Police investigating a targeted shooting that left a man dead outside his $5-million mansion in Shaughnessy issued a plea Monday for those associated with criminal lifestyles to come forward with information.
Vancouver Police Department spokesman Constable Tim Fanning did not directly link the victim, Hong Chao (Raymond) Huang, with gang activity, but did say he was known to police.
And he said a recent spate of public shootings in Vancouver, including several in restaurants, may persuade those involved with criminals to help police - before they end up dead themselves.
"For people that are involved in criminal activity, and certainly with all these shootings, I think it sends a strong message that you have chosen a lifestyle that could cost you your life, so you better watch out, you better watch your back, it's no way to live," he said.
"If anybody is in that lifestyle that has information that they want to pass on, [they should] because they could be next. I mean it is obviously a very dangerous, dangerous way to live … when you are involved in criminal activity because the end result is it's not uncommon to see death."
Constable Fanning would not say how police knew Mr. Huang, who was killed late Saturday as he returned to the sprawling mansion in one of the city's wealthiest neighbourhoods where he lived with his wife, 10-year-old daughter and mother.
Nor would he release any personal information about the victim, who remains something of a mystery in Vancouver.
One media report, quoting an unnamed RCMP source, linked him to the Big Circle Gang, a triad rooted in Hong Kong, but police would not confirm that Monday.
"Our investigators are working very hard to piece it all together, the who and what and why," Constable Fanning said, adding they are also looking for possible links to gang shootings in the Lower Mainland. "We're looking for a motive. Obviously somebody, we hope, is never shot randomly for no reason."
Constable Fanning calls it a targeted hit because of the way the killer, or killers, waited for Mr. Huang outside his home, shooting him moments after he drove up, at about 11:10 p.m. Saturday.
Neighbours said they heard several shots in quick succession.
Police arrived within minutes, but Constable Fanning said investigators don't yet have a description of a suspect to release.
He said videos from security cameras at Mr. Huang's home and on neighbouring residences have been collected and are being studied.
The house at 3883 Cartier St. is valued at $5,195,000, according to a BC Assessment roll report. The registered owner is Mei Zhen Wang, retired, and Gui Ying Yuan, housewife, is listed as a covenanter, or someone who guarantees to pay the mortgage if there is a default on payments. Neither could be reached yesterday for comment.
The property last sold on June 30, 2006, when it went in a cash sale for $4,702,000.
There have been a number of public shootings in the past year - including one last week in which a 51-year-old Richmond man, Hiep Vinh Do, was killed in Café Biên Hô - but Constable Fanning said the level of violence in the city hasn't increased.
What has happened, he said, is that there has been a steady trend toward more gun deaths, and the incidents have attracted attention because they occurred in such public places.
"We've actually had a dramatic drop in shots fired in the city, but of course we've had some very high-profile shootings in restaurants, people murdered in restaurants, people shot at down in Kitsilano, down at Quattro [Quattro On Fourth restaurant] It is something that is always on the public's mind. It's something that we battle daily that we are working, you know, to find answers, to find solutions, to make arrests and as always we need the help of the public," he said.