The legal odyssey of Lai Tong Sang – the alleged leader of a Macau criminal organization who came to Canada in 1996 but was recently ordered deported – is getting another chapter.
Mr. Lai's lawyer has filed an application in Federal Court requesting a judicial review of the Immigration and Refugee Board decision to deport him. The application likely means the order will be put off for at least a few months.
Peter Chapman, the lawyer, said a decision on whether to hold a hearing probably won't be made until November or December. He said the hearing itself likely wouldn't be held until February or March.
Mr. Chapman declined comment when asked what his argument to the Federal Court will be. He also declined to discuss his client's whereabouts.
Mr. Lai, who arrived in Canada alongside his family as a permanent resident, was deemed inadmissible by the Immigration and Refugee Board last month. The board's adjudicator said there were reasonable grounds to believe Mr. Lai was a member of the Shui Fong triad in Macau. The criminal organization was linked to assaults and murders during a 1990s turf war.
His admissibility hearing was held in Vancouver in February. Mr. Lai participated by telephone from Macau.
The IRB heard Mr. Lai was able to enter Canada when an immigration officer failed to check into his background. It did not take authorities long to concede the mistake, which was attributed to an overworked employee in Canada's consular offices in Los Angeles.
In 1997, Mr. Lai's home was hit by a drive-by shooting. Evidence presented at the hearing said the contract to kill him was worth $1-million (Hong Kong), or $132,000. A Vancouver police detective told reporters Mr. Lai was warned about the threats, but chose not to co-operate with police.
The IRB also heard from several witnesses attesting to Mr. Lai's triad leadership. The witnesses testified that the triad took part in killings, as well as loan sharking, extortion and prostitution.
Mr. Chapman argued that the case was based on hearsay and should be dismissed. He also questioned why immigration officials waited so long to go after his client.
The hearing was told that Canadian government officials were provided with information on Mr. Lai's triad activities as far back as 1997, including claims by police sources in Macau and Hong Kong that he had ordered the killings of three rivals. Two of the killings were carried out, according to an affidavit sent to Ottawa by then Hong Kong visa officer Jean-Paul Delisle.
A Canada Border Services Agency spokeswoman did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment about Mr. Lai's case Tuesday.