FILE – Horses race at Hastings Racecourse in 2018. (Facebook)

Workers escorted away in border services’ raid at Vancouver horse-racing track

Several people employed and supervised by various owners and trainers were escorted off the track

Several people were removed form a Vancouver horse racing track this week as part of an investigation by the Canada Border Services Agency.

Border services agents arrived at the park, owned by Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, at about 6 a.m. Monday, said a news release from the Hastings Racecourse.

A number of people employed and supervised by various horse owners and trainers were escorted off the site, and none of those who were removed is affiliated with or employed by Great Canadian, the release said.

David Milburn, president of the Horseman’s Benevolent and Protective Association of B.C., said a well-organized group of people wearing black jackets descended on the racetrack and handcuffed people. The group included officers with border services and the B.C. Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch, Milburn said.

“They appear to be knowing who they were going for, so they weren’t just walking up and questioning people,” he said.

“They had their targets … and they went about putting their targets in handcuffs. It was a roundup.”

A statement from the border services agency said it was conducting investigations at the track related to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

The Canadian Border Services Agency says it conducts enforcement actions when it is believed that a contravention of the Customs Act or the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act has occurred.

The statement says it would be inappropriate to provide further information while the investigation is underway. It didn’t say if the people remain in custody.

Milburn said the arrests took place on a busy training day and they were disruptive.

“It was the type of roundup or raid that was reminiscent of something out of ICE that you see in the (United) States, not here,” he said.

Those arrested were the “foreign-worker variety of individuals,” he said, adding they didn’t arrest any of the regulars who had worked there for years.

Trainers can’t hire unlicenced help, let alone people not allowed to work in Canada, he said.

“If someone has done something illegal, we are opposed. But the members rely on Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch for the licencing, so trainers have done nothing wrong,” Milburn said.

The Canadian Press

The Canadian Press


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PQB crime report: Thieves pilfer fuel from vehicles

Oceanside RCMP receive 229 complaints in one-week period

Nanaimo, Royal Jubilee to be Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 frontline hospitals

Other Island hospitals will be admitting COVID-19 patients and will be used in a support role

COVID-19: Parksville bylaw officers to enforce provincial health orders

Residents will be reminded to social distance and stay off playgrounds

Petition against development of wetlands area in Qualicum Beach garners nearly 2,000 signatures

Preservation society: ’We believe this is a violation of the town’s bylaws’

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

Physiotherapists turn to technology to reach patients during COVID-19

Just because services, jobs, and socializing have been put on hold, it… Continue reading

Easter Bunny not a COVID-19 carrier, allowed to do drop offs

World Health Organization grants permission to Bunny as he cannot transfer the virus

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Mid-Island Panago locations offer free pizza to first responders

First responder can get free pizza at Panago in Parksville, Nanaimo, Ladysmith, Duncan, and Mill Bay

Nanaimo man, allegedly drunk and high, arrested after climbing 100-foot tree

Man in sandals climbs fir tree, hurls obscenities at police below

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COVID-19 PQB business update: looking for takeout food?

Email messages to editor@pqbnews.com

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

Most Read