CBC Newsworld

OTTAWA – An RCMP officer says his superiors are covering up a visas-for-sale scandal that may have allowed hundreds of criminals to enter Canada illegally.

Corporal Robert Read says he was pulled from an investigation that revealed evidence of corruption and incompetence at Canada’s diplomatic mission in Hong Kong in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Read is taking his complaint to the Solicitor General of Canada, after the RCMP and the Independent Complaints Commission refused to hear it.

The investigation stemmed from allegations made by Brian McAdam, a former immigration officer at the Canadian High Commission in Hong Kong.

McAdam says the confidential computer system at the Canadian Embassy in Hong Kong had become a free-for-all where a corrupt employee could create and delete visa files at will.

“Seven-hundred-and-eighty-eight files were found to be missing without an accompanying paper file and 2,000 blank immigrant forms were missing as well, which would be worth millions and millions and millions of dollars,” McAdam says.

McAdam complained to his superiors in Ottawa but he says THEY TREATED HIM AS THE PROBLEM.

In 1992 an investigation was launched but McAdam says he was never told of the results.

Read took over the investigation in 1996 but was later taken off the case. He says the evidence shows that organized crime may have entered the embassy.

The alleged disappearance of visa files would have taken place at the time of mass immigrations from Hong Kong following the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

At that time, tens of thousands of people entered Canada from Hong Kong bringing billions of dollars into the country.


The RCMP is investigating allegations that officials at the Canadian embassy in Hong Kong were handed “little red packets” of money at a horse racing track in 1991, just as citizens of the colony were clamouring to emigrate to the West before the Chinese takeover. … It is unclear why eight years later there have been no criminal charges.

… [Listen to Brian McAdam, an expert in Asian triads:]

“When my wife and I arrived at the VIP room at the [Hong Kong] racetrack, Granny Pong, the matriarch of this family, thrust little red envelopes into our hands, as she did for every other couple,” he said.

“This greatly disturbed me because I knew this was an old technique to bribe people,” said Mr. McAdam. “When we returned home and opened the envelopes, there was $1,000 HK ($200 Cdn) in each of them,” he said.

Mr. McAdam said he took up the issue with his superiors the next day and was assured that such a thing would not happen again. “But I was told I COULD NOT RETURN THE MONEY BECAUSE IT WOULD BE TAKEN AS A GREAT OFFENCE.” he said. He sent the cash to the Save the Children Fund.

Documents show that an RCMP officer looking into the racetrack incident was told by a senior official at the embassy that the money was COLLECTED BACK from all those who received it and RETURNED.

… The unanswered question, according to Mr. McAdam’s report on the incident filed to an official in the department of external affairs, is: “Why would multi-millionaires constantly invite all newcomers from the Canadian mission’s immigration section, as well as locally engaged staff, to the horse races and give them thousands of dollars?”

Suspicions have also been raised about staff who received lavish going-away gifts, including one officer who got a Rolex watch. Another is said to have been given expensive gold coins as a gift to his parents. An immigration officer who was on assignment in Hong Kong went home with $300,000 Cdn that he supposedly won at the races.