© Heather Taweel/The Guardian
A Canada Border Service Agency vehicle spent much of the day Wednesday outside the Sherwood Motel in Charlottetown as agents searched for and removed documents from the premises.
Chinese teenager taken to school – not into custody – following Wednesday’s raid, mother says
A few more pieces of the puzzle regarding a Canada Border Service Agency raid at a Charlottetown motel are starting to fall in place.
Ping Zhong, listed in the P.E.I. corporate registry as president, secretary, and treasurer of the Sherwood Motel, was reluctant to comment, saying she was not on site Wednesday as agents swooped in to began a day-long investigation at her motel.
Zhong told The Guardian the raid was focused on a woman and her teenage son who had been living in one of the units at the motel for the past two years.
A witness at the scene on Wednesday said a person was taken into custody as part of the raid.
Zhong was told that is not the case.
“I spoke to the mother today,” Zhong said. “She said all they did was take the boy to school because he was late for the bus. He usually takes the bus every day.”
Agents arrived at the motel complex at around 8 a.m. Wednesday, according to residents who live full time at the motel.
The Guardian, which was at the scene Wednesday, was told that, in fact, there had been one arrest as part of the investigation.
Agents wearing bullet-proof vests swarmed the property for the majority of the day, lugging away boxes and boxes of files, even taking doors off their hinges, said resident Barry Huggan.
Agents remained on the scene for the remainder of the day, coming and going in both marked and unmarked vehicles, removing the large volume of documents from both the main hotel building at the back of the property and from two other units in the adjacent motel.
Zhong said that investigators were asking about the boy’s father, but she was told the father is in China.
There was no one in the unit Zhong mentioned when The Guardian returned to the motel late Thursday afternoon.
The corporate registry also names Min Zhong and Yi Zhong, joining Ping Zhong on the list of four shareholders of the company, as well as Cheng Dong, who is listed as both a shareholder and the lone director of the ownership group.
The Gilman family was reported to be co-owners and the Gilman family is still listed as owners on the motel’s website.
However, Ping Zhong said the Gilmans are no longer involved, having left the motel ownership about two years ago.
The Gilman family confirmed they are no longer associated with the motel.
Zhong said the investigation had nothing to do with the motel or with her personally.
“I think this is really damaging our business reputation,” she said.
She said operations returned to normal Thursday, but media inquires were pouring in. She said if there is anything more to learn about the investigation, it will be up to the Canada Border Services Agency to release those details.
That certainly wasn’t happening on Thursday.
The Guardian requested additional details from the agency but was told there will be no further comment on the case because it is still under investigation.
On Wednesday, Chastity McKinnon, regional director of communications for the Atlantic region of Canada Border Services Agency, confirmed a search warrant had been executed in relation to an ongoing investigation.
“I am unable to provide any further details as the investigation is ongoing,” McKinnon said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.