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Head shop owner fights to come back to Canada

Says he didn't know Hell's Angels was criminal organization

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A former Winnipeg head shop owner who was recently deported due to his past association with the Manitoba Hells Angels presented a case in federal court Thursday morning in hopes it could pave him a road back into Canada.

Alejandro Chung, 46, claims the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) failed in its duty to treat him fairly and its decision to remove him back to his native Chile late last year should be overturned.

He was not present in court. Immigration lawyer David Matas spoke on his behalf.

The federal government's decision to pursue his deportation came weeks after Chung successfully fought a major drug case where a court found his rights were seriously trampled by Winnipeg police when they illegally entered and searched Chung's La Mota head shop on Portage Avenue.

Chung, who admits he was once associated with the Hells Angels as a hangaround and one-time prospect member, denies knowing it was a criminal organization. He cut ties with the gang in fall 2011.

Exactly what he knew about the activities of the HA bears directly on the success of his immigration appeal, which comes by way of a judicial review of the IRB's decision to kick him out.

Matas argued Thursday the IRB failed in its duty to grant Chung's testimony the proper presumption of credibility when he swore under oath he was only hanging around with the gang to ride motorcycles and knew nothing about any criminal acts it may have been involved in.

Matas also charged the lawyer for Canada's public safety minister unfairly failed to cross-examine Chung on points which formed key parts of the government's closing submissions to the IRB member hearing the matter, Michael McPhalen.

Unless he was a full-patch member of the outlaw biker club, Chung would not have been made aware of any criminal activity the gang may or may not have been involved in, Matas told Justice James Russell.

The gang has a structured hierarchy of membership precisely geared toward warding off infiltrators, Matas said.

"They are deceptive. They have different signs [of membership] to protect themselves," said the lawyer. "Prospects don't see the internal workings."

A federal government lawyer countered by detailing for Russell sworn expert evidence given at Chung's deportation hearing by a Winnipeg police organized crime detective.

Among what Det. Wes Law testified to at the prior hearing was his professional belief the HA don't allow people near the gang who don't bring some benefit to it.

"Their business is crime," Law testified, according to Sharlene Telles-Langdon.

Law told the IRB it's "common knowledge" now the HA is a criminal organization, and few, if any, people would believe it's just a club for motorcycle enthusiasts.

Chung "was on the program," Law told the IRB. "Every step on the way you're further involved, further trusted and further entrenched in their organization," he said.

"The board's decision was entirely fair and entirely reasonable," Telles-Langdon told Russell.

Russell reserved his decision.

 

James.turner@freepress.mb.ca

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