October 1, 2020
MARKHAM – Police Supt. Mike Slack suspects criminals that made a living by facilitating illegal gambling, and selling illegal shark fin, were also engaged in human trafficking.
Based on police records, the mastermind of the recently disrupted criminal enterprise is Wei Wei, a 52 year old man. Wei, his wife and daughter have been arrested and charged with numerous offences.
While charges have yet to been laid in relation to human trafficking, and the investigation is still ongoing, police have every reason to believe the recently busted gangsters were doing more than selling card games and shark fin.
On September 30, York Regional Police announced the results of Project Endgame – an investigation targeting illegal gambling in the region. This involved a series of raids that began on July 3, on a residential complex in Markham. The most significant of those raids was the raid on a mansion on 5 Decourcy Court in Markham on July 23. According to police,
“Thirty-two people were arrested at the house. Following a search of the residence, 11 firearms with ammunition were seized, along with more than $1 million in cash, gaming machines and tables, as well as more than $1.5 million in alcohol. The $9 million mansion has also been restrained.”York Regional Police, Website
In addition to the games, there were illegal menu items – like shark – and what could be described as a brothel. It is not clear whether the women that participated were there of their free will, or if they were underage, or if they were trafficked from another country. There is not enough information in the public domain to make a conclusion on that either way.
Social Media users using Markham forums have pointed out that the operation was hiding in plain sight. According to one user, “I knew that place always had something sketchy going on. Figured drugs, but casino, didn’t see that one.”
Multiple users pointed out the large number of cars they would see in the driveway. According to one, “I always wondered what was going on there, there was either no cars in the driveway, or ten-plus.”
Users floated the idea of money laundering and suspicious activity regarding the construction of the building, but there doesn’t appear to be substantiating evidence for that. The investigation is ongoing.
This is not the first time human trafficking has occurred or been alleged in the city of Markham. In 2010, 3 people were arrested in regards to allegations of forcible confinement and possession of hard drugs.
In 2019, a 28-year-old from Markham, was arrested and charged with “more than 30 charges relating to human trafficking, firearms possession, harassment, and fraud.”
Police have released a full list of names in regards to Project End Game, along with the charges. The surnames all appear to be East Asian. Police are requesting anyone with knowledge about the crimes, or the human trafficking aspect, to contact them directly, or via Crimestoppers.
Allegations and speculative theories continue to circulate on social media, while the hard facts slowly come in.