Amanda Zhao

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Amanda Zhao Wei
Born 赵巍
c. 1981
China
Disappeared October 9, 2002 (aged 21)
Burnaby, British Columbia
Body discovered
October 20, 2002(2002-10-20)
Stave Lake, British Columbia
Nationality Chinese
Education Coquitlam College
Occupation Student

Amanda Zhao Wei (simplified Chinese: 赵巍; traditional Chinese: 趙巍; pinyin: Zhào Wēi; c. 1981 – October 2002) was an international student in Vancouver, British Columbia, who was murdered in October 2002. She was reported missing on October 9, 2002. Her body was found in a suitcase by hikers near Stave Lake, British Columbia, on October 20, 2002. Autopsy performed reveals that she was strangled.[1] Before the murder, Zhao was an English student at Coquitlam College in British Columbia.[2]

Her murder was of great interest in the Chinese community in Canada because it exposes the lack of an extradition treaty between China and Canada for crimes in the two countries and the lack of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's (RCMP) authority in retaining suspects within Canadian borders until the investigation of a crime is completed.

The two murder suspects in the case, Li Ang (李昂) and Zhang Han (张瀚), were arrested in China in the summer of 2009. Li was convicted in September, 2012 and sentenced to life in prison. Zhang was released and is not scheduled to be tried.[3]

Murder Suspects[edit]

The prime suspect Li Ang, who was Zhao's boyfriend at the time of murder, was initially in Canada when Zhao's body was found. He was a Chinese national and a computer science student at Simon Fraser University.[4] Eleven days before the body was found, Li reported to police that Zhao was missing after she went to buy groceries at the local Safeway store.[5] However, three days after Zhao's body was found, Li returned to China.[6] He was initially questioned by the RCMP on the case, but it was not until seven months after the murder that the RCMP issue a warrant for his arrest. Li is being charged with second-degree murder in absentia by the Canadian government.[7] In 2004, he was taken into custody by the Chinese government but was later released due to lack of evidence.[8]

Zhang Han, who was Li's cousin, was also implicated in the case. He later confessed that he had helped Li dispose of Zhao's body and helped Li travel back to China after the murder.[9] Zhang's confession led to him being charged as an accessory after the fact in Zhao’s murder.[10] However, he was later acquitted by the British Columbia Supreme Court because the confession had been improperly obtained.[11]

Zhao, Li, and Zhang shared a basement apartment in Burnaby, British Columbia at the time of murder.[12]

Issues[edit]

The ability of a murder suspect like Li to escape Canada after a victim's body was found has raised many questions on the RCMP's ability to retain suspects within Canadian border after a crime.

The arrests took many years to complete mainly because the Canadian government is reluctant in giving evidence of the murder case to China, which allows for capital punishment. On October 13, 2009, Secretary of State for Multiculturalism Jason Kenney said that China's capital punishment policy has been a problem in the case.[13] Giving evidence of the crime to China might inadvertently provide an avenue for sentencing the two murder suspects to capital punishment in China. Since Canada does not endorse capital punishment, providing evidence to China is difficult due to human rights issues. This case raised the awareness of a need in an extradition treaty between Canada and China.

Safety of international students in Canada is also being questioned as a result of this case.

References[edit]

  1. ^ National Post (October 13, 2009), Suspects in Amanda Zhao slaying arrested in China, National Post, retrieved October 15, 2009 
  2. ^ CTV (October 13, 2009), Chinese authorities make arrest in B.C. homicide, CTV, retrieved October 15, 2009 
  3. ^ "Chinese court finds boyfriend guilty of murdering Amanda Zhao in B.C". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). September 27, 2012. 
  4. ^ Straight.com (October 7, 2008), Family of murdered student Amanda Zhao arrives in Vancouver, Straight.com, retrieved October 15, 2009 
  5. ^ CBC (October 7, 2009), Visiting parents demand justice in Zhao's slaying 6 years ago, CBC, retrieved October 15, 2009 
  6. ^ canada.com (October 13, 2009), Amanda Zhao's parents still crying for justice, canada.com, retrieved October 15, 2009 
  7. ^ Global News (October 13, 2009), China arrests two in Zhao slaying, Global Television Network, retrieved October 15, 2009 
  8. ^ Straight.com (October 7, 2008), Family of murdered student Amanda Zhao arrives in Vancouver, Straight.com, retrieved October 15, 2009 
  9. ^ canada.com (October 13, 2009), Amanda Zhao's parents still crying for justice, canada.com, retrieved October 15, 2009 
  10. ^ Straight.com (October 7, 2008), Family of murdered student Amanda Zhao arrives in Vancouver, Straight.com, retrieved October 15, 2009 
  11. ^ National Post (October 13, 2009), Suspects in Amanda Zhao slaying arrested in China, National Post, retrieved October 15, 2009 
  12. ^ National Post (October 13, 2009), Suspects in Amanda Zhao slaying arrested in China, National Post, retrieved October 15, 2009 
  13. ^ CBC (October 7, 2009), Visiting parents demand justice in Zhao's slaying 6 years ago, CBC, retrieved October 15, 2009 

Sources[edit]