‘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.


Philippine police say will arrest anyone flouting vaping ban

Updated 20 November 2019

Philippine police say will arrest anyone flouting vaping ban

  • The ban came days after Philippine health authorities reported the nation’s first vaping-related lung injury
  • The devices are already banned in several places such as Brazil, Singapore, Thailand and the US state of Massachusetts

MANILA: Philippine police were ordered Wednesday to arrest anyone caught vaping in public, just hours after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced he would ban e-cigarettes.
The abrupt prohibition, revealed by Duterte late Tuesday adds to a growing global backlash against a product once promoted as less harmful than tobacco smoking.
Duterte, a former smoker, called the devices “toxic” and said vaping introduced “chemicals” into the user’s body.
He ordered the arrest of anyone vaping publicly in a country that already has some of Asia’s toughest anti-smoking rules.
No formal, written order has been made public that spells out the scope of the ban or penalties for violations.
Duterte is notorious internationally for his deadly anti-narcotics crackdown, but he has also targeted tobacco with a wide-ranging ban on smoking in public.
Citing “the order of the president,” on Wednesday a statement from the head of the Philippine police ordered “effective today, all police units nationwide to enforce the ban on use of vapes; ensure that all violators will be arrested.”
The ban came days after Philippine health authorities reported the nation’s first vaping-related lung injury, which resulted in a 16-year-old girl being hospitalized.
Vaping has taken off in the Philippines, with speciality shops and vapers puffing away in public a common sight.
E-cigarette users were caught off guard by the ban and questioned the utility of arresting people who, at worst, were hurting themselves.
“It’s inappropriate. In any case, we don’t hurt people, the environment or animals,” said 22-year-old student Alexis Martin.
“Why are vapers being targeted?”
E-cigarettes warm flavored liquid to produce vapor that is free of the estimated 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, but does contain a number of substances that could potentially be harmful.
Critics say that apart from being harmful in themselves, the multiple exotic flavors of e-cigarette liquids appeal particularly to youngsters and risk getting them addicted to nicotine.
The devices have become hugely popular in the past decade but a rash of vaping-linked deaths and illnesses in the United States is feeding caution about the product, already banned in some places.
In September 2019 India became the latest country to ban the import, sale, production and advertising of e-cigarettes, citing in particular concerns for its youth.
The devices are already banned in several places such as Brazil, Singapore, Thailand and the US state of Massachusetts.