Surrey Six suspect arrested in Philippines
Published Thursday, June 18, 2009 8:30AM PDT
A man wanted in connection with British Columbia's worst gang murders in history -- the "Surrey Six" slayings -- has been arrested in the Philippines.
Homicide investigators believe Quang "Michael" Vinh Thang Le, 24, is one of the leaders and original founders of the Red Scorpions gang in B.C.'s Lower Mainland.
On May 25, Crown Counsel approved one charge of first-degree murder and one charge of conspiracy to commit murder in the slaying of Corey Lal during October 2007's execution-style slayings, where six men, including innocent bystanders Ed Schellenberg and Chris Mohan, were gunned down in a high-rise apartment.
Cpl. Dale Carr, spokesperson for the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, says Le, who was born in Vietnam but became a Canadian citizen, fled to his native country to flee prosecution. IHIT received word Le was travelling to Manila, the capital city of the Philippines.
Investigators in British Columbia worked with Interpol to secure a "Red Notice" for Le, which gave the Philippines National Bureau of Investigation the power to arrest him once he arrived in the country.
Le was taken into custody Wednesday as he arrived at the Manila airport.
Carr says Canadian authorities are now working to have Le extradited, where he will face his criminal charges.
"This investigation is still very active and other arrests are expected," Carr said in a statement.
"Just because charges have been laid and people have been arrested we don't stop. We will take advantage of all opportunities to bring someone to justice."
The 18-month investigation into the Surrey Six slayings, dubbed "Project E-PESETA," has involved more than 100 investigators at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.
Dennis Karbovanec pleaded guilty April 3 to three-counts of second-degree murder for the deaths of Chris Mohan, 22, Ryan Bartholomeo, 19 and 26-year-old Michael Lal.
A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled the 27-year-old must spend at least the next 15 years in prison before he can apply for parole. A publication ban prevents news outlets from publishing key details in the case.
Karbovanec also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy for the murder of Lal, a charge shared with 23-year-old James Bacon of Abbotsford.
Bacon was charged for the first-degree murder of Lal on April 4.
Police have linked the killings to a bloody gang war that has seen more than 100 shootings in recent years and almost four dozen since mid-January, more than 20 of them fatal.