Opinion: Manhunt for alleged Burnaby kingpin puts city in ugly spotlight

Chris Campbell

During my three decades working in community newspapers, I’ve seen the damage done when a high-profile criminal gets connected to one community.

People still occasionally remember the “flamingo killer” from Maple Ridge – a dude who stomped some birds decades ago in Stanley Park. I was there during that mess and it painted a dark stain on the community and this was BEFORE social media. I can’t fathom how bad it would have gotten if that had happened in 2019.

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This brings me to the events on Tuesday when the RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC) unit announced that a Burnaby man sought by police for five charges of money laundering will be the target of a new public and social media campaign.

Cong Dinh of Burnaby is charged with five counts of laundering the proceeds of crime, stemming from his alleged involvement in a Vietnamese organized crime group that police allege laundered about $2.7 million obtained from drug trafficking. Dinh is alleged to have trafficked ecstasy and marijuana to the U.S. from Canada and cocaine to Canada from the U.S.

I’m not saying that the manhunt for Dinh will have a lasting impact on Burnaby’s image, but I have seen some snide comments about our community being some sort of hub for money laundering.

It just adds to our city’s image of being a cash storage facility for organized crime groups.

That’s a bad look for our community.

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Cong Dinh is shown in a BC RCMP handout photo. The RCMP has announced a $50,000 reward to help find a BC man wanted on a warrant for money laundering. Police say 32-year-old Cong Dinh is alleged to have been involved with a Vietnamese organized crime group in the U-S and Canada that laundered nearly 2.7-million dollars through the trafficking of cocaine and ecstasy. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-BC RCMP

In the meantime, let’s hope this campaign ends up catching this suspected crime kingpin.

The RCMP FSOC is now partnering with the Be on the Lookout (Bolo) Program, a non-profit organization that runs social media and public campaigns to catch fugitives.

Police say the public can expect to see large yellow sign advertisements with Dinh’s mugshot on it.

The Bolo Program is now offering a $50,000 reward via Crime Stoppers for any tips, even anonymous ones, that lead to the arrest of Dinh. The reward is valid until May 3, 2020.

- With files from Graeme Wood, Glacier Media

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