RCMP repeatedly mishandles information request

The RCMP has twice now mishandled its response to a Public Eye request for documents analyzing the presence or activities of organized crime at British Columbia's legal gaming facilities. The force replied to that access to information request last Thursday with a threat assessment examining the extent and scope of illegal gaming in British Columbia from 2005 to 2008.

The assessment states Hells Angels had, in some cases, succeeded in infiltrating the province's "legitimate gaming operations." It also states known gang members often check into casinos and that some loan sharks are "believed to be associated to Asian based criminal organizations."

But when we first asked for that analysis on November 16, 2009, the RCMP stated it was "unable to locate any information relating to your request."

Public Eye resubmitted it on April 10, 2010 - attaching an internal record showing the force's integrated illegal gaming enforcement team, in fact, had prepared such an assessment.

Four months later, we received the document. Many sections were blanked out for law enforcement reasons - including one dealing with money laundering.

However, we weren't the only ones on the hunt for that assessment.

The Vancouver Sun's Chad Skelton had also filed a request for it. But when he got his copy this week, the RCMP accidentally gave him an uncensored version of that section.

It stated Canadian casinos are "extremely vulnerable to money laundering" and that "police managers have suggested that, because of other priorities and a lack of resources, at this time nothing is being done to investigate these situations."

That's consistent with what the integrated illegal gaming enforcement team's former commander Fred Pinnock told us last year, accusing the RCMP of "playing ostrich" about the problems inside legal gaming facilities.

A RCMP spokesperson explained the information Mr. Skelton received was released by "mistake. That page should not have gone out."

Previously, the province's gaming minister Rich Coleman rejected Mr. Pinnock's assessment that "there's a ton of criminal activity" being conducted in those facilities.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police access to information request response

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