Homicide investigators believe a controversial and pricey self-help network with affiliates around the world could be the key to solving the killing of a Chinese citizen last seen in a tony neighbourhood of Surrey.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team identified 41-year-old Bo Fan as the woman taken by friends and family to a local hospital early on June 17, where she died of injuries officials wouldn’t discuss. An IHIT spokesperson told reporters one of the few things they’ve been able to learn about Fan is that she was associated with a self-help group known as Golden Touch, or Create Abundance, and they’re now asking anyone who recognizes her through the group or other channels to come forward.
“In the past week we’ve tried and continue to work hard to really find out as much as we can about Miss Bo Fan, but really there isn’t that much information we’ve been able to find except she’s been here a very short time, a year and a half…other than the association to the organization, which is huge for us,” said Sgt. Frank Jang.
IHIT stressed that investigators are is not drawing any connection between the organization and Fan’s death.
Jang said Fan was last seen in the area of 168 Street and 27 Avenue in Surrey, and CTV News found one particular home behind police tape in the hours after her death. Two Maseratis with vanity licence plates that begin with “GT” were parked on the property. Neighbours said that in the past several year, large numbers of vehicles would arrive at the property as people left with branded bags and there were even Golden Touch-branded tour buses going to that home and two neighbouring properties for a time.
A now-defunct website for Create Abundance in Canada is titled “Turning Stones into Gold” and claims the organization has a “brain wave research laboratory in Vancouver, has world-class equipment, and gathers many scientists from all over the world” to study the writings of a woman named Zhang Xinyue.
As of September, the website said: “The founder, Teacher Xinyue, has a double doctorate in psychology and economics, and is currently a visiting scholar at Oxford University in the UK and a postdoctoral fellow at Oxford University.”
CTV News spoke to a Vancouver translator and book publisher who was hired by the group several years ago to translate Xinyue’s most popular book, Create Abundance, into English. He says they commissioned 30,000 English-Chinese copies for distribution throughout the English-speaking world.
“The idea is how to cultivate spiritual growth,” explained the translator, who asked not to be identified. “Once you gain the positive mentality, all the positive things will be attracted to you and you reqalize your personal goals in terms of finance, in terms of personal success or even physical health.”
He said the group is aggressively marketing seminars and events in Metro Vancouver through the Chinese community, with talks held monthly or even more frequently.
On the Create Abundance website, a “Study Card Program” is listed with a US$10,000 fee. CTV News found several events in Metro Vancouver over the past several years for the group and called one of the people listed as a contact, but he insisted he hadn’t been involved for years. That event promised “One click changes your life!”
In 2016, the Ming Pao Chinese-language newspaper published in Vancouver wrote that the Create Abundance system came under scrutiny from Chinese officials after being accused of being a multi-level marketing scheme.
CTV News found more events in Toronto, including an event at the Markham Marriott Hotel in 2015 with a photo that appears to include Fan with a group at Toronto city hall.
The translator insists some people are true devotees of Golden Touch after finding success with its teachings, with the group’s website insisting it has a massive following around the world.
“Over the past 17 years, hundreds of thousands of people have undergone tremendous changes in the system of turning points into gold , creating miracles in life,” reads one section in Chinese. “Enhance and make up for differences in the richness of the brain system. Your fear of money, restrictions and other obstacles will be destroyed, and your income will increase miraculously and rapidly.”
IHIT has been in contact with the Chinese consulate in Vancouver to reach Fan’s parents in China, and says while she has family in Metro Vancouver who got her to hospital and are co-operating with investigators, they still don’t know much about her.
“We are not making any linkages with this organization and Ms. Fan’s homicide,” emphasized Jang. “But what we know of Miss fan so far is that she was somehow associated to this organization, and so we’re appealing to those who knew Miss fan who recognize Miss fan, perhaps had that dealings with her.”