One of two suspects in a violent crime that saw a foreign student allegedly kidnapped at gunpoint by a stranger in Victoria last year is missing and wanted on a Canada-wide immigration warrant.
Twenty-year-old Tao Liu is believed to be residing in Richmond, hiding in plain sight.
“Someone has dropped the ball. You just can’t have foreign nationals accused of serious criminal charges being dealt with by police, and not CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency). That’s wrong,” says immigration lawyer Richard Kurland.
The Chinese national, whom authorities say is in Canada fraudulently on a student visa, has been wanted since last April after he disappeared while out on bail pending trial.
Liu is charged with 11 offences including kidnapping, unlawful confinement, robbery, aggravated assault and extortion. According to a Greater Victoria CrimeStoppers post, the alleged victim, another Chinese national, was held for hours and stabbed repeatedly in an attack that almost amputated his arm – details that are only coming to light more than a year after the alleged incident in January 2015.
“Crime Stoppers have been very descriptive of what has taken place yet the Victoria PD when it did take place about a year ago failed to notify the public of this significant serious crime within their jurisdiction,” says former B.C. Solicitor General and former West Vancouver Police Chief Kash Heed.
The public was also in the dark when Liu allegedly jumped his bail last April. Victoria Police would not comment on the case, but said in general, the department has to weigh the release of information with protect the integrity of any investigation – with its utmost concern being public safety.
Kurland says we would never see a case like this in Vancouver.
“There’s a long history of CBSA working hand in glove with Vancouver Police to identify foreign nationals charged with serious offences. These individuals are dealt with immediately by CBSA with immigration charges. How it didn’t happen in Victoria is beyond me. Something is broken. Something needs a fix.”
The Canada Border Services Agency is looking into his case but would not provide any details to Global News.