‘Lock your doors:’ Canada police hunt teen slaying suspects

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police released photos on July 23, 2019 of Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, from Port Alberni, British Columbia, who are considered main suspects in the slayings of 23-year-old Australian Lucas Fowler, and his US girlfriend Chynna Deese, 24, who were discovered shot to death on July 15 along the side of the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs, British Columbia. (AFP)
Updated 30 July 2019

‘Lock your doors:’ Canada police hunt teen slaying suspects

  • Court records show he was charged with criminal harassment in December 2008

VANCOUVER, British Columbia: A search around the area of a remote northern Manitoba community has failed to find two teenagers who are suspects in the murder of three people in British Columbia, but police continued to urge local residents to stay inside Monday and lock their doors.
RCMP Cpl. Julie Courchaine told a news conference in Winnipeg that the agency received a tip Sunday afternoon that Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky may have been spotted in York Landing — about 55 miles (90 kilometers) from Gillam, where a vehicle that had been used by the suspects was found burned last week.
“It is critical that residents of York Landing remain vigilant and stay indoors as much as possible with their doors locked, and to report anything suspicious by calling their local police immediately,” Courchaine said.
McLeod, 19, and Schmegelsky, 18, have been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Leonard Dyck, a University of British Columbia professor, whose body was found last week in British Columbia.
They are also suspects in the fatal shootings of Australian Lucas Fowler and his American girlfriend Chynna Deese of Charlotte, North Carolina, whose bodies were found July 15 along the Alaska Highway about 500 kilometers (300 miles) from Dyck’s killing.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the Royal Canadian Air Force was assisting with the search.
On Monday afternoon, the RCMP tweeted they still have not been able to verify if the two teens are in the area.
“After a thorough & exhaustive search, #rcmpmb has not been able to substantiate the tip in York Landing. RCMP resources will continue to be in the York Landing & Gillam areas,” the tweet said.
“We thank the community for their patience & understanding & ask them to continue to be vigilant.”
Police earlier had been searching further east in the town of Gillam, aided by tracking dogs and drones.
The tip about the possible sighting came from members of the Bear Clan Patrol, an indigenous-led neighborhood watch group that was invited by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to help ease residents’ fears.
While York Landing geographically isn’t far from Gilliam, Courchaine said the community is “only accessible by air or via a two hour ferry crossing in the summer.” There also is a rail line around 25 kilometers (15 miles) south.
The area has “very challenging terrain, lots of forest, lots of muskeg, waterways,” said Couchaine.
Meanwhile, the father of one of the suspects has sent a book to reporters describing his mental health, harassment convictions involving his ex-wife and his relationship with his fugitive son.
Alan Schmegelsky said the book titled “Red Flagged” is a novelization of actual events and fictionalizes some incidents.
He said he sent the book to reporters to highlight how a “broken system” has shaped him and his son.
“My son and I have been treated like footballs. It’s time for some truth,” he said.
He writes that he was arrested by Victoria police on Aug. 4, 2008, his son Bryer’s 8th birthday, three years after his acrimonious split with the boy’s mother.
Court records show he was charged with criminal harassment in December 2008. He was found guilty of the lesser offense of disobeying a court order.
He returned to court numerous times over the next decade on charges of harassment and breach of probation.
Schmegelsky says he does not currently have a permanent residence and has been homeless for about two years, staying primarily in Victoria.
He has said that he did not see his son between the ages of 8 and 16, at which age his son briefly lived with him in Victoria and they worked in construction together for a summer.


Dhaka’s Uber drivers warn of more protests if demands not met

Updated 5 min 12 sec ago

Dhaka’s Uber drivers warn of more protests if demands not met

  • Push for increase in base fare, reducing commission from 25% to 12%

 

DHAKA: Uber drivers in Bangladesh said on Tuesday that they would launch more protests if the authorities failed to meet the demands highlighted in a nine-point program.

It follows a day-long protest staged by the drivers’ union of the popular ride-sharing service and the Bangladesh drivers’ association on Monday.

The nine demands from Uber drivers include an increase in the basic fare, fixing the fare per kilometer and reducing Uber’s commission from 25 percent to 12 percent.

Uber drivers are also pressing for trips to be assigned under the “Destination” option in the app, ensuring the security of drivers; compensating drivers if passengers damage the vehicles; taking action against drivers only after a thorough investigation of complaints; and making it compulsory for passengers to provide their image in their Uber accounts.

“We had two meetings with the Uber authorities in Dhaka last August and September to realize our demands but there was no result. So finding no other alternative, we observed the 24-hour strike on Uber service,” Belal Ahmed, secretary of the Dhaka ride-sharing drivers’ union, told Arab News.

“We are now observing the initiatives taken by the Uber Bangladesh management in regard to our demands. If they don’t listen to us we will announce fresh tougher programs within the next couple of days,” Ahmed said.

San Francisco-based ride-sharing company Uber launched its operations in Dhaka in November 2016, making it the first ride-sharing company to provide its services there.

Other local operators — Pathao, Shohoz, O Bhai, O Car, Car Bangla, Pick me — followed soon after by offering services in the cities of Dhaka, Chottogram and Sylhet.

“We want a perfect ‘way bill’ for our trips which we don’t get in some cases due to technical problems in the Uber app. In these cases, we had enjoyed an adjustment from Uber which has been stopped for the past five months causing a huge loss for the drivers,” Shamim Hossain, president of the Bangladesh ride-sharing drivers’ association, told Arab News.

Justifying the drivers’ demand to reduce the commission given to Uber, Hossain said that all other local ride-sharing operators charged only 15-20 percent commission.

“Uber is not investing in the cars. As an app service provider, they are just bridging the passengers and drivers and charging 25 percent of our income, which is very high,” Hossain said.

Commuters in Dhaka expressed their dissatisfaction over the drivers’ protest.

“The drivers can’t take the passengers as hostage to realize their demand in any situation. It’s a service- oriented issue and drivers should act in a more rational way,” Monowara Begum, 36, an employee of a corporate house in Dhaka, told Arab News.

“We have become dependent on Uber services as they are the most reliable and available. So, both the parties should find a sustainable solution to mitigate the crisis. This sort of strike cases huge disruption in our daily lives,” Momin Ullah, 49, a businessman of Dhaka, told Arab News.

The Uber Bangladesh authority did not comment when contacted by Arab News. A statement released by Uber Bangladesh on Monday read: “We regret the disruption caused to the rider and driver-partner community, due to a small group of individuals. We strive to provide reliable and safe transport options to get around the city and hope to minimize any distress caused.”

“We are committed to providing reliable, convenient and safe transport options to our riders, while providing access to flexible income opportunities for our driver partners. We always prioritize the wellbeing of our driver-partners and have processes in place to address concerns and issues through our Partner Sheba Kendras and in-App feedback,” it said.

Uber operates in more than 550 cities around the world.