x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Tributes paid to Canada bus victim

Relatives of a man who was beheaded on a bus by a fellow passenger have spoken publicly for the first time since the attack.

Vince Weiguang Li, 40, is led into the Manitoba Provincial Court in Portage La Prairie.
Vince Weiguang Li, 40, is led into the Manitoba Provincial Court in Portage La Prairie.

TORONTO // Relatives of a man who was beheaded on a bus by a fellow passenger have spoken publicly for the first time since the attack. Tim McLean, 22, was killed on a Greyhound bus as it travelled along a desolate stretch of the TransCanada Highway about 20 kilometres from Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, late on Wednesday. Vince Weiguang Li, 40, faces second-degree murder charges. Passengers said they had just reboarded the bus, which was travelling from Edmonton, Alberta, to Winnipeg, Manitoba, when the suspect - for no apparent reason - stabbed the man sitting next to him dozens of times as passengers fled in horror. He then severed the man's head, displayed it and began hacking at the body.

Mr McLean's family yesterday spoke about the attack for the first time. "He was a little guy with a heart bigger than you could know," his uncle, Alex McLean, told reporters in a prepared statement from the family. "Tim spent his life travelling and meeting new people and always saw the good in everyone. He had the most infectious giggle. You could hear him laughing a mile away. "It didn't matter what kind of a day you were having, because when you heard him laugh, you couldn't help but join in."

Mr Li's employer also said in an interview yesterday that he was shocked to learn that his "model employee" had been accused of the grisly attack. Vincent Augert, an independent contractor who distributes newspapers in Edmonton, said that Mr Li was one of his most reliable carriers. "He was very punctual and always cleanly dressed," he said. "He was a very nice, polite guy. We would've had no reason to let him go before all this happened."

Mr Augert said Mr Li had worked for him since last July and caused no problems. "I had no odd suspicions about him at all." Mr Augert also said Mr Li called him two weeks ago to say he needed a day or two off to go to Winnipeg for a job interview at the end of July. He said Mr Li called him back and left a message with the dates, but never followed up after that. "That was unusual for him not to call back and then when he didn't show up for work on Tuesday we got worried," said Mr Augert, who said it was sometimes difficult to understand Mr Li because he spoke quickly and had a strong Chinese accent.

He said he called Mr Li's mobile phone on Thursday and his wife answered. She told him that she hadn't heard from Mr Li, who had told her he had to leave for a few days because of a family emergency. Mr Li, who shuffled into a courtroom on Friday in Portage la Prairie was not required to enter a plea. The prosecutor asked for a psychiatric assessment, but the judge said he wanted to give Mr Li a chance to meet with his lawyer. Mr Li's next court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday.

*AP