Alleged Illegal Chinese Immigrant Hosted $60K Bear Hunts With Option to Add Prostitutes: Authorities
Authorities arrested Jun “Harry” Liang on Thursday and he is facing federal charges including wire fraud, money laundering, and attempted violation of the Lacey Act.
Jun “Harry” Liang is facing a number of federal charges including wire fraud, money laundering, and attempted violation of the Lacey Act after he allegedly charged two men $60,000 for a week-long bear hunting trip last August, according to the complaint.
The Lacey Act prohibits taking, possessing, transporting, or selling any wildlife, animal, or fish which has been obtained in an illegal manner. The complaint alleges that Liang said he would be able to help the two men with shipping back the meat of any animals they bagged on the trip.
Unbeknownst to Liang, the two men on that trip were both undercover agents working under the Department of Homeland Security. The agency believes that Liang has been in this country illegally since 2016 according to the complaint, which was obtained by Inside Edition Digital.
Brian Phelan is also named as an accomplice in the complaint but denied any wrongdoing in an interview with The Daily Beast.
“All I can say is, things are not what they appear,” Phelan said. “I don’t speak Mandarin, I don’t read Mandarin, I don’t read Mandarin.”
Alaska Wildlife authorities were first tipped off about "a group of Chinese immigrants hosting and conducting unlicensed big game guided hunts" in 2021, according to the complaint. That tip directed the agency to the Chinese social media site Little Red Book, where "all communications are conducted primarily in Mandarin," according to the complaint.
The complaint says that a preliminary investigation that involved tracing back hunting licenses and identifying vehicles seen in photos posted online of past hunting trips led police to Liang and Phelan.
At that point, a Mandarin-speaking undercover agent set up a hunting trip with Liang, according to the complaint, sending a $15,000 deposit. Once in Alaska, that agent paid Liang the $45,000 balance and he and his fellow undercover agent were driven to the hunting site, the complaint alleges.
The complaint claims there were a number of additional fees associated with the trip, including a hunting lesson that cost between $1,100 and $1,300 and various hunting permits and tag fees through the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Liang is also accused of offering clients another service multiple times while they were out in the field.
"Liang again offered prostitutes to the [undercover agents] for approximately $1,800 per night or $500 per sex act," the complaint alleges. "Liang also offered to sell the [undercover agents] bear gall bladder for $5000 each."
The bile from a bear's gall bladder is used in traditional Chinese medicine according to the complaint.
After a few days, the agents claimed that the trip would have to be cut short due to personal reasons and tipped Liang $1,500 for his services, which he then posted a photo of on Little Red Door along with a reference to a big tip from a client, according to the complaint.
The group failed to bag a single bear, according to the complaint.
Liang is currently in custody at the Fairbanks Correctional Center ahead of his first court appearance on Friday. His attorney Gary Colbath declined to comment when contacted by Inside Edition Digital.
Phelan is not being detained ahead of his first court appearance on Aug. 11, and said he has "nothing to hide."
“If you want the full scoop, when this whole thing’s over, I’ll tell you everything," he told The Daily Beast. "Because there’s a lot more to this than what they filed in court.”
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