The woman found shot to death at a Richmond, B.C., industrial park early Wednesday morning was a mother of two and a suspected loan shark.

Tung Sze Yan, 39, had been convicted of uttering threats in February 2004, fined $1,000 and placed on 12 months probation.

A police source said the threat charge is typically issued to loan sharks, but added that Yan had never been charged or convicted of usury, which is a more common charge for extortion.

Yan, also known by the first name Betty, was found gunned down in the driver's seat of her grey Mercedes Benz in the 2500 block of Shell Road at around 4:20 a.m.

Integrated Homicide Investigation Team spokesman Cpl. Dale Carr said she was known to RCMP because of "the criminality that she's involved with," but would not elaborate.

Carr said indications are that she was targeted. An autopsy was scheduled for Thursday.

A spokesman at B.C. Lottery Commission confirmed to CTV News that a province-wide ban was issued for Yan from all BCLC casinos.

Casinos had been issued with photos and descriptions of her.

Yan's death was the fourth killing of a woman known to police in recent weeks.

"The number of women that have been murdered in an apparent targeted shooting this year is certainly an anomaly," Carr said.

"It's certainly something that is not usual and does stand out to us. . . . It certainly demonstrates to us that in today's world, even if you're a woman, you're not immune to being shot and killed by people involved in criminal activity."

The other deaths:

  • Laura Lynn Lamoureux was shot to death in Langley March 14. RCMP have said she was known for her involvement in the street-level drug trade.
  • Nikki Alemy was found dead at the wheel of her husband's car on Feb. 16. Alemy's four-year-old son was in the back seat.
  • Brianna Kinnear was shot dead in a pickup truck in Coquitlam on Feb. 3.

The Vancouver region is in the midst of a violent gang war that has seen more than four dozen shooting incidents since mid-January and now 21 confirmed shooting deaths.

With a provincial election looming May 12, crime has become a hot button issue for both major parties.

B.C.'s Liberal party has vowed to crack down on gangs and gun crimes by hiring more police officers, prosecutors, and establishing tougher laws and sentences.

New Democrats say they will fight gang violence by hiring 168 new police officers and creating an anti-gang prosecution team, restricting bail for known gang members, and pushing for tougher laws for gun related crimes.

With files from The Canadian Press