Mainland China and Hong Kong clients are the major foreign nationalities linked to ‘suspicious transactions’ in banks in Vancouver and other cities across British Columbia, according to reports made to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.

The Globe and Mail reported that most of the 8,600 ‘suspicious transactions’ reported from 2012 to 2015 did not detail clients’ citizenship. Among those that did, however, 865 were linked to mainland Chinese—more than any other foreign nationality.

Another 50 were linked to clients from Hong Kong and 43 to Taiwanese.

money laundering police
Photo: HKFP.

An expert told The Globe and Mail that the statistics point towards Chinese money entering Vancouver’s real-estate market and affecting its affordability.

Christine Duhaime, a lawyer and expert witness on international financial transactions, told The Global and Mail that only the banks “know for sure” if these transactions bring money into Vancouver’s housing market.

However, she added that she can “surmise pretty accurately that if the funds are from China and involve large volumes, they are for real estate purchases, because there is not much else foreign nationals from China buy in Canada that would trigger a [suspicious transaction report].”

Medhavi Arora is in her final year at the University of Hong Kong studying Journalism and International Relations. Her print, video and multimedia pieces have been featured in the Times of India and CNN-IBN. She is a former intern at UN Women and has additional experience in sustainability, international affairs and communications.