Posted on: May 13, 2024, 04:29h. 

Last updated on: May 13, 2024, 04:30h.

Canadian prosecutors have urged a British Columbia Supreme Court Judge to convict a man accused of firing the bullet that killed casino money launderer Jian Jun Zhu in September 2020.

Jian Jun Zhu, Richard Reed, Vancouver, money laundering, Silver International, Gordon Ma, Jin Cai
The victim, Jian Jun Zhu, left, and the possible intended victim, Paul “King” Jin, right. It is not yet clear who hired accused killer, Richard Reed, or why. (Image:

Zhu died in a hail of gunfire as he dined with his associate Paul “King” Jin at Manzo, a Japanese restaurant in Richmond, Greater Vancouver.

Last week, the court heard the closing arguments in the trial of Richard Reed, who faces charges of first-degree murder in Zhu’s death and the attempted murder of Jin, who was injured but survived the attack.

Industrial-Scale Money Laundering

In 2017, the deceased was the subject of a case billed as Canada’s all-time biggest money laundering prosecution. Zhu was accused of washing hundreds of millions of dollars through Vancouver-area casinos via his currency exchange company Silver International.

Prosecutors in that case contended that Silver was a front for an underground bank with links to drug cartels and terrorist financing.

But the case collapsed when prosecutors accidentally revealed the name of a crucial government witness during a standard evidence disclosure. The presiding judge stayed the case, determining that to continue would place the witness at “high risk of death.”

Perhaps because of that outcome, Reed’s trial is a judge-only affair. Thanks to a 2003 statute, cases in Canada where there is deemed to be a substantial risk of jury intimidation or tampering can dispense with a jury altogether.

Wrong Man Killed?

Reed admitted to the court that he was the individual captured on surveillance video outside the restaurant wearing a black and white Calvin Klein hoodie minutes before the shooting.

“Mr. Reed spends roughly 20 minutes surveying the Manzo scene. He walked through the parking lot waiting for the sun to set so he could commit the offence under the cover of darkness,” prosecutor Mark Wolf said in closing arguments, as reported by The Vancouver Sun.

Mr. Zhu immediately collapsed after being shot and later died in [the] hospital, and Mr. Jin was treated for his injuries and recovered,” Wolf added. “It’s the Crown submission that in committing this shooting Mr. Reed intended to kill the person shot.”

The judge in the case, Justice Jeanne Watchuk, has ruled inadmissible a purported confession by Reed, made to a friend, that he had targeted Jin but killed the wrong man. Jin is an alleged illegal gambling operator who used Silver International to launder money, according to prosecutors.

Others Involved

Police found the gun used in the shooting under Reed’s bed when they searched his apartment, as well as a loaded magazine with Reed’s fingerprint on it.

Reed had frequent phone contact with three people who were either in the restaurant or in the vicinity at the time of the shooting – one of whom, Jin Cai, was also having dinner at Manzo and was the only one to leave early.

Another, Gordon Ma, who had been seen on surveillance video with Reed before the shooting, had frequent phone contact with Jin Cai, before and after the act.

Prosecutors have not revealed in court filings who hired Reed to allegedly carry out the killing or why Zhu – or indeed Jin – was targeted.

Missing Man

Defense lawyers argued that Ma, whereabouts unknown, could plausibly have pulled the trigger.

The actual shooter was not picked up by the restaurant’s security camera, and so prosecutors could not prove beyond reasonable doubt that Reed pulled the trigger, according to defense lawyer Kevin Westell.

“Possessing the firearm two months after the shooting tells us nothing about who the shooter was,” Westell said.

Judge Watchuk has reserved her decision, which is expected to be delivered in writing in due course.

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