Richmond man pleads guilty to smuggling Chinese migrants over U.S. border

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A Richmond man has plead guilty to helping smuggle dozens of Chinese migrants across the U.S. border into Canada.

Michael Shun Lok Kong, 62, admitted at Richmond Provincial Court on Monday to four counts related to human trafficking under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Kong, who appeared in court from custody, was originally charged with seven such offences and will still face trial later this summer for one of them.

He was previously convicted of immigration offences in 2010 and 2013.

Due to a publication ban, very little details of the offences were given in court on Monday.

However, more detail was made available earlier this year with the publication by the National Post of a search warrant executed during the initial investigation.

According to that warrant, Kong allegedly helped a total of 34 Chinese migrants enter Canada illegally between June 2014 and October 2015, including meeting a group of them at Parker Place Mall in Richmond.

All of them had earlier travelled to the U.S. on visas which were issued in China by the U.S. Consulate, according to the documents.

It is then alleged that Kong helped the migrants travel to Toronto to file for refugee protection.

The charges against Kong were the product of a CBSA investigation called "Project Interpretation," launched in 2012 to probe human trafficking over the U.S. border at Peace Arch Park in South Surrey.