A Chinese woman has filed a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court claiming that she is the common law spouse of a murdered West Vancouver millionaire.
The woman, identified in court documents as Mother1, filed the lawsuit against the estate of Gang Yuan Feb. 10, claiming that as his wife, she is entitled to more than half of Yuan’s estate.
The woman states in her claim that her child, born in December 2008, is also Yuan’s child.
The body of Yuan, a wealthy businessman with ties to both China and Canada, was found chopped up inside a British Properties mansion at 963 King Georges Way on May 3, 2015.
Li Zhao, the husband of Yuan’s cousin, who also lived in the house and was listed on title as a registered owner, was later charged with second-degree murder and interfering with a dead body.
Yuan, who was 42 when he died, left no will directing how his large estate should be divided. The value of that estate has been estimated at more than $20 million.
In the months following the grisly discovery of Yuan’s body, five women came forward to claim that their children were fathered by Yuan and are therefore heirs to the fortune in his estate, currently being administered by Yuan’s brother.
The latest claim adds further potential heirs to mix.
According to the most recent claim filed in court, Mother1 first met Yuan in China and moved into his parents’ home with him shortly after they started dating. They split up in 2004 but reconciled and began living together again in August 2007, according to the claim. The woman states that the couple were common law spouses, calling each other husband and wife and sleeping in the same bed.
In December 2008, Mother1 states she gave birth to the couple’s child. She stayed in China, looking after their child and Yuan’s parents while Yuan travelled to Canada on what she described as extended business trips. The woman said in court documents Yuan told her that he planned to move the entire family to Canada once his business became more stable. But Yuan was killed before that could happen.
Mother1 said she travelled to Canada to attend Yuan’s funeral and has maintained close relationships with his family since his death.
Her lawsuit asks for a declaration that she is Yuan’s spouse, noting that if a person dies without a will, their spouse is entitled to half of their estate, while the remainder is usually split among their children.
In an earlier lawsuit, a different woman claimed Yuan flew her to meet his parents, lived with her in Vancouver when she was pregnant then paid for her to fly to Los Angeles to give birth at a clinic that caters to foreigners seeking U.S. citizenship for their children.
Zhao’s trial on second-degree murder is scheduled to begin in May in B.C. Supreme Court.