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Trial Against Suspected Casino Money Laundering Shooter Picks Speed

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A trial against a man, accused of killing an alleged money launderer in a criminal case dating back to 2020, picked up speed with closing arguments earlier this month. The violent crime involves Jian Jun Zhu, a suspected casino money launderer, who was shot and killed. He was together with his associate, Paul “King” Jin, who survived the shooting which took place at a Japanese restaurant in Richmond, Greater Vancouver, Canada, back in September 2020.

Zhu was accused in one of the country’s largest cases of money laundering. He was suspected of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars several years ago through casinos in British Columbia. According to the prosecution at the time, Zhu was able to launder the money with the help of Silver International, a Richmond company owned by him. Casinos in the Vancouver area were victims in the money laundering plot but the lawsuit against Zhu fell through after a mistake by federal prosecutors that unintentionally revealed the name of a key informant for the case.

Richard Reed is the person suspected of the shots that rained into Manzo restaurant and killed Zhu, while wounding Jin. The man previously pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and first-degree murder charges. Earlier this month, prosecutor Mark Wolf on behalf of the Crown, asked the judge to find the suspect not guilty on the attempted murder charge, as announced by CTV News Vancouver. This request stemmed from a ruling by Justice Jeanne Watchuk which deemed evidence provided by a friend of Reed as inadmissible.

Prosecution Claims It Proved That the Suspect Was the Shooter

While Wolf asked for Reed’s attempted murder charge to be dropped, he explained that the Crown was able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the suspect was indeed the shooter of the deadly crime. He pointed to an admission of the suspect that he was seen in video footage within the area before the crime occurred.

Wolf explained: “Mr Reed spends roughly 20 minutes surveying the Manzo scene, he walked through the parking lot waiting for the sun to set so he could commit the offense under the cover of darkness.” Video surveillance records play a key part in Crown’s case against Reed. The prosecution spoke about footage that was already seen during the trial which showed a person, suspected of being the gunman, fleeing the area. The person from this recording, matched the description of Reed, said Wolf.

Upon investigating the criminal case, law enforcement found the weapon, used for the shooting at Manzo, after a search of Reed’s apartment. The suspect’s fingerprints were on the murder weapon too.

However, Reed’s defense lawyer, Kevin Westell, argued that finding a weapon two months after the killing doesn’t prove that he was the shooter. “Possessing the firearm two months after the shooting tells us nothing about who the shooter was,” he explained. Westell said that his client was accused of being a drug dealer back in 2020, which if true means that it won’t be “unnatural” to have a gun.

The case is held as a judge-only. A decision is expected in due time.

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