Montreal’s Chinatown continues to be concerned over criminal activity

“Drug activity is constantly going on,” said Bryant Chang, vice-president of the Chinese Association of Montreal, when speaking out again, with others in Montreal’s Chinatown community, against drug-related crime. Gareth Madoc-Jones reports.

Community leaders and residents of Montreal’s Chinatown are speaking out again due to concerns about criminal activities, most notably drug trafficking, in their neighbourhood.

This comes after what appears to be a small bag of drugs was found in the playground at the Petit Palais daycare located in Chinatown Wednesday morning. 

Petit Palais daycare playground. (Photo Credit: Gareth Madoc-Jones, CityNews)

“Just this morning at the daycare they found a bag of drugs in the playpen of the kids,” said Phil Chu, a Chinatown resident and a young father with child at daycare.

“Every parent is scared at this point in time. I mean even the daycare workers, thankfully the kids are young so they don’t really understand what’s going on and us as parents and the daycare workers are doing their absolute best to shield the children but it’s getting really taxing and really difficult.”

Chu, was one of several Chinatown community members to initially raise concerns with all three levels of government about drug trafficking and other criminal activities in Chinatown at a press conference on May 2. Chu and others say that since then not much has changed. 

Phil Chu, a Chinatown resident and a young father with child at the Petit Palais daycare. (Photo Credit: Gareth Madoc-Jones, CityNews)

“Open drug dealing, public defecation, I mean it’s just the incidents. We’ve lost count of how many stories there have been. I mean everyone has stories. All my neighbors, all my coworkers that live around here basically, work around here have a story to tell,” said Chu.

Vincent Lupien, a Chinatown Residential and Commercial Property Owner said, “Drug dealing happens in this neighborhood with complete impunity. People deal drugs openly. I know who drug dealers are so I’m sure the police does as well. It’s not really clear to me why we don’t just stop the drug dealing.”

On Wednesday, three SPVM police officers on bicycles could be seen in Chinatown patrolling the area. They also stopped to talk to Bill Wong, the director general for the Montreal Chinatown Development Council, who shared some of his concerns .

Bill Wong speaking to SPVM officers. (Photo Credit: Gareth Madoc-Jones, CityNews)

“There’s a lot of breaking and entry. Also lots of robbery and there’s also pedestrian tourists being robbed on the street,” said Wong.  

Bryant Chang, the vice-president of the Chinese Association of Montreal, says that drug trafficking is still a problem in Chinatown and he believes it’s only going to get worse.

He would like to see the city of Montreal significantly improve the lighting on Clark street in the neighbourhood because he says that right now it’s a haven for drug addicts and drug dealers. 

“The drug activity is constantly going on. You can see the drug dealers coming down by bike and then stopping in the middle of the street doing their transactions wide open with the addicts and then they’re gone. Within a matter of two minutes the transaction is gone but the addicts in order to get money they have to start, they continue to break in cars,” said Chang.

Chang does express some optimism for change because he has been told that the SPVM will set up a recruitment booth with a Mandarin recruitment agent to meet Chinatown residents on May 30th at Sun-Yat Sen park from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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