The Toronto Hamilton Police Department is looking for a female suspect of Chinese descent in Toronto. The case has recently generated a lot of buzz in the Chinese community about the suspect’s mother, a high-profile celebrity with ties to politicians and the Chinese Consulate.
Yun Lu “Lucy” Li, 25, and Oliver Karafa, 28, have been charged with first-degree murder.
Yun Lu “Lucy” Li, 25, and Oliver Karafa, 28, have been charged with first-degree murder. The two are suspected of killing Tyler Pratt, 39, and injuring a 26-year-old woman in a recent shooting in Hamilton.
Hamilton police have disclosed few details about the shooting, except to say that a passerby called police on the evening of Feb. 28 to find a wounded woman in the Stoney Creek neighborhood, and that officers arrived on the scene and found Pratt’s body nearby. The deceased and the injured knew each other.
According to police, the two suspects were supposed to have left the scene in a Land Rover SUV, which police later found, but not the suspects.
Four days later, on March 4, Hamilton police issued a bulletin for Li Yunlu and Carafa. The bulletin stated that both suspects were Toronto residents, but were believed to have left the area. Police are appealing for the public’s assistance in locating their whereabouts.
There has been much discussion of the matter on the website of members of the Chinese community. According to the National Post, two sources in the Toronto-area Chinese community said the Chinese are concerned about the case because Li Yunlu’s mother, Winnie Liao, the owner of Respond Financial (Respond), has been high-profile.
“She has been appearing everywhere, and for a long Time she has been very high-profile.” One Chinese man, who asked not to be named, told the National Post that many people are talking about her.
Connected to Canadian politicians and Chinese consulates
Liao Zewei, who hosts a big charity gala once a year, appears to have ties to Canadian politicians, as well as the Chinese Communist government’s diplomats in Canada.
According to a 2016 Globe and Mail report, Liao Zewei has hosted several fundraisers for Trudeau. At the time, the Liberals were heavily criticized for these “cash-for-meetings” fundraisers, and some Chinese Communist government officials were spotted attending them. In the end, the Liberals were forced to reform their fundraising policy to make it more transparent and accountable.
According to Elections Canada’s database, between 2014 and 2019, donations to the Liberal Party totalling approximately $20,000 were recorded under Liao Ziwei’s name.
A striking photo of Liao shaking hands with Trudeau is posted on the website of Rebond Financial. However, the website was no longer accessible on Tuesday.
Liao was pictured with Han Tao, the Chinese government’s consul general in Toronto. On the Vancouver Chinese Consulate’s website, it specifically mentions Liao Zewei’s visit in 2016 and praises her company’s support of overseas Chinese groups in the region.
An article published on China’s Sohu.com on January 25, 2020, titled “Ontario Premier Ford, Consul General Han Tao join Rebond’s Tzu-Wei Liao and fellow Chinese community members at the 2020 Golden Rat Chinese New Year Gala,” graphically describes Liao’s attendance at the event and her interaction with numerous politicians.
While Rippon was not the organizer of the event, the article highlights her speech to the party, her photo with Consul General Han Tao, and her interaction with the Premier of Ontario and other politicians.
The National Post report said they tried to contact Liao Zewei for an interview but were unable to do so, and an employee at her corporate office said she had gone to Vancouver.
She has spoken to Chinese communities about her Education experience
Li Yunlu is one of Liao’s triplet daughters, and one of the three sisters was one of the contestants at Miss World Toronto, where the three of them were photographed together in swimsuits, lingerie and other outfits.
One of the triplet sisters says that when they were 13 years old, they founded an organization called the Canadian Youth Funding Association (CYFA), which was one of the beneficiaries of a charity gala at Rippon.
According to easyca.ca, Liao graduated in the 1980s and was one of the first people in China to receive a master’s degree in economics. After working for the Shenzhen government for 10 years, she immigrated to Canada at the end of the 20th century and in 2000, she founded and became commercially successful in the Rayburn International Financial Group.
She has five children and has presented her experience in raising them in a public education seminar on how they all went to prestigious schools and became “complex, business-oriented people”.
In this case, how Li Yunlu went on a criminal path is probably a topic of great concern. Another suspect in the Hamilton shooting, Carafa, is a man with a criminal past.
In 2012, Carafa was driving at twice the speed limit on Mount Pleasant Road in Toronto when his Land Rover SUV ended up crashing into a pole. David Chiang, a 24-year-old passenger in the vehicle, was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene.
Carafa was later sentenced to five years in prison for impaired driving, criminal negligence resulting in death, and dangerous driving; and 15 years of ineligibility to drive.