A B.C. Supreme Court claim seeking forfeiture of five of 13 high-end vehicles seized Aug. 31 in South Surrey and White Rock has been filed by the provincial government.
According to court documents, the Director of Civil Forfeiture filed the claim Sept. 27 in Vancouver, seeking to keep a Nissan GTR, two Lamborghini Gallardos, an Aston Martin DB9 and a Mercedes SLS from being returned to their registered owners.
The five, along with eight others, were pulled over in White Rock and South Surrey just before 4 p.m. Aug. 31, following multiple complaints of luxury vehicles racing southbound on Highway 99.
Police at the time handed all 13 drivers $196-violation tickets, but said they did not have enough evidence to recommend criminal charges.
According to the notice of claim, the defendants and others met at Lansdowne Centre and “conspired to engage in street racing” along the highway en route to South Surrey.
Along the way, the claim states, they cut in and out of traffic in an unsafe manner, drove without due care and attention to other motorists, engaged in street racing at speeds up to 200 km/h and pulled over and re-joined highway traffic without proper cause in a manner dangerous to the public.
The claim identifies the defendants as Richmond residents Dan Na Zhu (also known as Danna Zhu), Zhang Hong Ma, Ying Chun Wang, Xiao Qiang Zhang and Xiu Bo Wang, along with two minors from Vancouver. Ying Chun Wang is identified as Zhang’s mother and the registered owner of the vehicle Zhang was driving, the Mercedes SLS. One of the minors was driving one of the Lamborghinis; the other minor is the registered owner, the claim states.
In arguing for forfeiture, the claim also notes that Ma, Zhang and one of the minors hold novice licenses; Zhu, Xiu Wang and Ma have previous tickets for violations ranging from not having a valid licence to prior involvement with street racing; and the defendants “are likely to use the high-performance vehicles in the future to engage in unlawful acts.”
“The director says that the manner in which the high-performance vehicles were operated by the drivers (and acquiesced in by J. Doe 2) was likely to cause serious bodily harm to motorists using the highway and thus these vehicles they constitute instruments of unlawful activity as that term is defined in the (Motor Vehicle) Act.
“So long as the high-performance vehicles are possessed or controlled by the defendants, they are likely to be used to engage in the unlawful acts, or similar acts,” the document states.
While the body of the court document names a fourth alleged driver as also having previous violations, that individual is not named in the defendant list.
Unlike in a criminal case, the civil proceeding does not produce a ruling of guilty or not guilty.
The defendants have 21 days from receipt of the notice of claim to file a response.