One man was arrested and released following the May 2 collision at the Douglas/Peace Arch border. (File photo)

Scammers set up fake online fundraiser for family of B.C. border crash victim

Fraudulent GoFundMe page caught and shut down, as real campaign nears $100K goal

Friends of the pastor killed in last week’s fiery crash at the border say someone tried to capitalize on fundraising efforts meant to support Rev. Tom Cheung’s family.

Pastor Peter Teh of Port Moody Pacific Grace MB Church said Thursday that a fake GoFundMe account that closely duplicated one that launched Saturday has been shut down.

“We created a website through the gofundme.com, then someone actually copied the front page and created another one, with a different title,” Teh told Peace Arch News.

“Someone noticed, so we informed GoFundMe and they took it off, immediately.”

Teh did not know if anyone had donated to the second site.

“It’s sad, people taking advantage of such tragedy.”

READ MORE: ‘Loving, generous’ pastor, father identified as South Surrey border-crash victim

He said he was not surprised, however, by the groundswell of support for the original campaign, which aims to raise $100,000 for Cheung’s wife and three children.

As of Thursday afternoon, more than $90,000 had been donated.

It was launched, Teh said, in response to the number of requests to help.

“Even before we created a website, a lot of people were asking how they could help financially,” he said.

Cheung was the breadwinner for his family, and popular with his congregation, Teh said.

“People just love him,” he said.

Teh said the pastor had travelled to the states to pick up some books on May 2, the day of the crash.

He died around 11:30 a.m., after a Porsche Cayenne SUV slammed into the Toyota Sienna van he was driving in the northbound-approach lanes of the Douglas (Peace Arch) border. The vehicles came to rest in a garden that adorns the Peace Arch Park median, and the van burst into flames.

A Washington State man was arrested at the scene, and police announced the following day that he had been released in consultation with the BC Prosecution Service. No further updates have been issued.

Teh, who described Cheung as a friend of more than 20 years, said Cheung’s family only got confirmation from police Wednesday that DNA testing had positively identified their patriarch as the crash victim, “so they are going through a hard time today,” he said.

“If you’re Christian, continue to pray for the family,” he said.

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