RONALD Li Fook-shiu, the former Hong Kong stock exchange chief jailed for accepting bribes, faces deportation from Canada because of his criminal past. The billionaire, who spent more than 30 months in Stanley Prison, appeared before an immigration hearing in Toronto last week and could be kicked out of the country within two weeks if he falls foul of a new get-tough policy by Ottawa. Canada's immigration regulations give its officials sweeping powers to bar people they believe ''are or were'' linked to criminal activity . . . even if they are already living in the country. And now a special taskforce, the Organised Crime Division, has been set up to crack down on potentially undesirable immigrants, particularly those from Asia and Hong Kong. The Triad Action Steering Committee, which was formed last year to gather intelligence on Asian underworld figures, has been absorbed into the new taskforce which also focuses on the mafia, biker gangs, and the waves of Russian criminals who are flooding into the country from Far Eastern Russia. But investigations of people with links to Asian organised crime have increased dramatically in the 12 months since a leaked document revealed 20 senior Hong Kong triad members had sought residency in Canada. At least 100 visa applicants from Hong Kong are thought to be the subjects of immigration probes. Some of those may also be on a secret 1992 Asian intelligence ''roster'', which contains the names of 600 people with alleged links to organised crime. Li, 64, appears in the document described as a real estate investor with an apartment in a predominantly Chinese block in Spadina Avenue, Toronto's Chinatown. Immigration sources have confirmed that the latest move, which has resulted in action against at least five high-profile Hong Kong people, is the culmination of a long-term investigation into Asian crime. It has also resulted in a tightening of border checks on ''prohibited persons'' and increased intelligence gathering operations for use in the vetting of visa applicants. ''Some senior triads have been trying to place spouses and concubines in Canada,'' one source said. ''They think that if they can get relatives here then eventually they will be able to make their way here.'' Li appeared at a quasi-judicial hearing last Thursday to face claims of ''criminal inadmissibility'' resulting from his Hong Kong conviction. Once one of the wealthiest men in Hong Kong, Li was found guilty in October 1990 of two corruption charges linked to preferential share allocations. He was jailed for four years. On his release, on June 16 last year, Li told friends he wanted to play golf and travel. He flew into Toronto, where he had relatives, on April 9 and was placed on a C$10,000 (HK$56,000) cash bail while awaiting last week's hearing. It was adjourned until September 12, with a decision due on September 14. Paul Hardy, of the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, said the case was adjourned after Li's lawyer, Lorne Waldman, ''asked for more time''. Mr Waldman could not be reached for comment yesterday. ''The inquiry never really got started,'' Mr Hardy said. ''That will happen on September 12 when they go into his background.'' If the September 14 decision goes against Li, Mr Hardy said a ''departure notice'' would be issued and he would have to leave Canada immediately. According to Mr Hardy, the resumed hearing will decide whether the allegation of criminal inadmissibility ''is true and can be proved''. The factors to be considered are whether the crime Li committed is indictable in Canada, whether he has become rehabilitated since conviction, and whether five years have elapsed since conviction. In February, Eddie Chan Kin-cheuk, alleged to be a member of the Sun Yee On triad gang, was deported from Canada after appearing before a similar hearing. Chan, who was travelling on a Venezuelan passport while en route to Toronto to visit his wife and children, was scheduled to appear before a hearing on March 1 but brought it forward after he admitted to a criminal conviction in Hong Kong in 1988. Other Hong Kong people known to have been probed include: Carl Ching Men-ky, vice-chairman of the Frankwell group and chairman of the Asian Basketball Confederation, who was barred from attending an international basketball competition in Vancouver earlier this year for ''national security reasons''. Dolly Chan Shuk-ching, 72, the concubine of former legislative councillor and chairman of the Regional Council, Cheung Yan-leung, 72, was refused entry in July. Canadian immigration said it was because of her alleged links to a secret society. Stanley Cheung Tak-kwai, 33, the son of Chan and Cheung, who was refused entry at the same time for similar reasons. Lee Chau-ping, dubbed the ''Ice Queen'', is believed to have obtained a visa for Canada via a third country. She is still wanted for drug trafficking and, as such, would not now be allowed to enter the country. Last year, four Hong Kong triads were stopped at Vancouver airport and refused entry because of their criminal connections.