Guilty plea entered in human smuggling case at South Surrey border crossing

Guilty plea entered in human smuggling case at South Surrey border crossing

Counts still outstanding in connection with Peace Arch Park operation

A 62-year-old Vancouver man, accused of involvement in an operation smuggling Chinese migrants into Canada through Peace Arch Park, has pleaded guilty to four out of seven charges against him.

The National Post reported that Michael Kong pleaded guilty to the charges during his appearance in B.C. Provincial Court in Richmond on July 29.

The guilty plea was entered just before a trial on the charges was set to begin. One of the remaining charges is still in dispute and could proceed to trial, and a sentencing hearing is not expected to be scheduled until that count is resolved.

Kong was arrested last September and charged under section 117 of the federal Immigration and Refugee Protection Act with seven counts related to human smuggling between 2014 and 2015, allegedly involving 34 migrants.

Canadian Border Services Agency investigators allege that an operation in which Chinese nationals flew to the U.S. on valid travel visas – then were transported to Peace Arch Park, where they were guided across the border to waiting vehicles – may have smuggled more than 900 migrants into Canada between 2011 and 2016.

Of these, approximately 300 are believed to have filed refugee claims in Canada.