Leader of billionaire-funded protest of Surrey journalist expresses remorse for violent attack

The protest was funded by an exiled Chinese billionaire linked to Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon

A group – connected to a Chinese billionaire and a Donald Trump adviser – that protested outside a Surrey journalist's house in 2020 has returned this month| Submitted

The exiled Chinese billionaire connected to Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon paid $300 a day for picketers to march daily outside a Surrey journalist’s house in fall 2020.

Shiliang Yin said in an interview that Guo Wengui (also known as Miles Kwok) sent him US$50,000 to distribute cash to supporters of Guo and Bannon’s New Federal State of China (NFSC) campaign for a so-called “traitor punishment” operation against Gao Bingchen.

They marched, chanted and waved signs daily for more than two-and-a-half months in the Green Timbers cul-de-sac outside Gao’s home, alleging he secretly works for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and should be deported.

Gao, who writes and livestreams under the name Huang Hebian, denies their allegations. He has frequently reported on real estate tycoon Guo, who fled to the U.S. in 2014 and is wanted for corruption in China. Guo was the developer of the dragon-shaped Pangu Plaza complex in Beijing that opened for the Beijing 2008 Olympics. 

In retaliation, Yin recruited picketers and led daily protests that he said were ordered and financed by Guo.

“He always likes to tell people to do things for him,” Yin said. “So he appoints someone as leader and people wire money to the guy or to the association.”

Yin, 33, is speaking out more than two years after he and another man, Mu Bai, 46, viciously attacked one of Gao’s friends, Louis Huang, in the cul-de-sac on Nov. 25, 2020. In 2021, a judge gave Yin a seven-month conditional sentence and 12 months’ probation for assault causing bodily harm. Bai received 12 months’ probation.

The group that Yin formerly led returned earlier this month to Gao’s neighbourhood. Yin wants the public to know that Gao doesn’t deserve it and that he is deeply apologetic for what he did to Huang.   

“Mr. Gao is totally a good person and we don't have any evidence to point out Mr. Gao is a CCP spy,” said Yin in an interview.

Gao said he is deeply disturbed and feels threatened for the security of his family and his neighbours, who range from schoolchildren to senior citizens.

“I urge the police to pay attention to this matter and protect the safety of my neighbourhood,” Gao said in a statement.

“I sincerely hope that we will be protected in our homes and our children can go to school without fear and we hope that there will be no more bloodshed!”

Not only does Yin say he regrets hurting Huang, who needed facial surgery after sustained kicking and punching, but he said he also regrets tarnishing the image of overseas Chinese people. He said Guo promised to provide lawyers to anyone who needed them, but Yin said the experience left him $100,000 in debt.

Yin issued a 10-point statement expressing shame and remorse, and to reveal what he said is the “truth behind this strange protest.” He has kept his WhatsApp communication with Guo, who has paid for similar “traitor punishment” actions in other cities in Canada and the U.S. Yin said many people involved were victims of fraud and some were duped into believing their participation could earn them political asylum visas in Canada or the U.S.

“I hope that all the people who were in Guo Wengui's gang, especially the members of the NFSC who still carry out illegal slander in this community, can learn from me, keep your eyes open, and stop being fooled,” Yin said.