Group based in Chinese graft suspect Michael Ching’s office helped stage big Toronto gala for PM contender Trudeau

Ching travelled from Vancouver for 2014 fundraiser, joining Liberal leader on stage at third major event involving Tru-Youths United that Justin Trudeau is known to have attended

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 October, 2015, 8:55pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 May, 2018, 6:05pm

UPDATE: Michael Ching Mo Yeung has commenced legal proceedings against South China Morning Post in the Supreme Court of British Columbia.  Mr Ching alleges in his lawsuit that this article contains false and defamatory statements, and that the conduct of South China Morning Post and its reporter was malicious, reprehensible, high-handed, and blameworthy.

Tru-Youths United, a political organisation based in Chinese graft suspect Michael Ching Mo Yeung’s office, helped Canada’s Liberal Party stage a major fundraiser in Toronto, representing the third large Tru-Youths-linked event known to have been attended by prime ministerial contender Justin Trudeau.

A photo shows that Ching - a wealthy Vancouver developer who is wanted by China for alleged embezzlement and is seeking Canadian refugee status - travelled to Toronto and joined Trudeau on stage at the June 15, 2014, gala at the Sheraton Centre Hotel. More than 200 Tru-Youths volunteers are said to have helped run the official Liberal Party event.

The South China Morning Post on Wednesday revealed Tru-Youths United’s links to Ching, and that Liberal leader Trudeau had attended at least two of its events in Vancouver, attended by thousands of supporters from the Chinese community. The group’s 2013 certificate of incorporation, obtained by the Post, shows it was headquartered in Ching’s office at 4030-8171 Ackroyd Rd in Richmond, British Columbia, and that Liberal special advisor Wang Ting Ting was a director, alongside Ching’s teenage daughter, Linda Ching, and three others.

Trudeau is in a three-way race to become prime minister at the October 19 election with the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair and Conservative incumbent Stephen Harper.

The Post was directed to photos of the Toronto event which were posted by local MP Arnold Chan, who  was a candidate for the Scarborough-Agincourt riding byelection at the time. Most of the guests were from the city’s Chinese community.

In his posting, Chan called the gala a “landmark event”.

He told the Post this week: “I can confirm that there was a Liberal Party of Canada fundraiser on June 15, 2014, that I attended, but this event was organised by Liberal volunteers and supporters.

“I have never heard of a group called Tru-Youths and I never heard of any third party group involved in the organisation of this event. This was an official Liberal event organised by the Liberal Party of Canada.”

Ching is not named in the photos but is clearly identifiable among other dignitaries on stage as Trudeau receives a presentation from Ching’s friend, former multiculturalism minister Raymond Chan, who is married to Wang Ting Ting; other pictures show scores of Tru-Youths volunteers in their distinctive red vests, on stage and outside the venue.

The Young Canadian Chinese Professionals and Entrepreneurs Association posted a Chinese-language account that described the Toronto event as “a massive dinner party where the guests included about 1,300 Chinese from across Canada as well as political and business figures”.

“Another highlight of the dinner was a team of more than 200 young Chinese volunteers who received guests, took photos and managed the site,” the YCCPEA said.

“Energetic, capable and enthusiastic, they were highly praised by Mr Trudeau and the guests. They are the shining example of what a new generation of Chinese youths should be like. Many of them are YCCPEA members.”

The YCCPEA did not respond to the Post's request for comment.

Michael Ching’s lawyer, David Lunny, said in a letter this week that his client declines to be interviewed by the Post “which has clearly embarked up and is intent to pursue a relentless campaign to besmirch and defame him and others”. Raymond Chan and his wife, Wang, have not responded to the Post’s interview requests.

Liberal spokesman Olivier Duchesneau told the Post last week that Trudeau has “no relationship” with Ching. “Mr Ching has donated to the Liberal Party of Canada, as well as the Conservative Party, and has attended a few events where Mr Trudeau was present,” Duchesneau said. Trudeau attended an event in Richmond  on Tuesday after the Post published its initial report online but did not take reporters’ questions.

Ching, 45, is the only son of the late Cheng Weigao, the former governor of Hebei who was expelled from the Communist Party in 2003 in the wake of a corruption investigation. Ching is wanted by China under the name “Cheng Muyang” for alleged embezzlement and concealing assets and was included on a 100-most-wanted list released as part of Beijing’s Operation Skynet corruption crackdown in April; a week later, the Post revealed that Cheng Muyang and Michael Ching were the same person.

The Post has no evidence of Ching’s guilt or innocence.

Ching has acknowledged he is Cheng Muyang in Canada’s federal court as part of his ongoing bid for refugee status. He has long been denied citizenship by Canadian authorities who have been aware of his identity for more than a decade. China’s  Ministry of Public Security asked Canada’s federal police in 2004 to assist in preventing Ching Mo Yeung from acquiring Canadian nationality”, according to a letter quoted by Ching’s legal team in a damages lawsuit over his denial of citizenship.

UPDATE: On August 23, 2016, Interpol concluded that data registered in its files concerning Michael Ching Mo Yeung was not compliant with Interpol’s rules and, accordingly, the data  including the Interpol “red notice” previously issued was deleted.