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Friday 17 May, 2024
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Ken Lee, homeless man killed by teen girls in Toronto

BY Anas Shah Jan 11, 2023. 01:55 pm

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Ken Lee was the victim of an alleged “swarming” attack by eight young girls in Toronto last month, according to the police.

After allegedly being attacked and stabbed by the group of girls outside a downtown shelter in the early hours of December 18, 2022, Lee, 59, was declared dead in the hospital.

At the time, investigators stated that they were attempting to inform Lee’s next of kin about his passing. In a news release on Tuesday, police stated that Lee was from Toronto.

All eight of the girls, whose ages vary from 13 to 16, were accused with second-degree murder. One had a hearing for bail scheduled for later this month, while the others had one in late December.

The Youth Criminal Justice Act protects their identity.

Diana Chan McNally, harm reduction case manager at All Saints Toronto, stated at a ceremony on Tuesday at the Toronto Homeless Memorial outside the Church of the Holy Trinity in the city’s downtown, that Lee’s passing is inexplicable.

“Hearing something like that and the people who were involved, it’s just something that’s completely beyond my understanding,” she said.

She said anecdotally, she is seeing an increase of violence against people who are actively living on the street.

“This is the most extreme example of that, but we see it all the time. I get people coming in with all kinds of injuries from being beat up by complete strangers,” she said. “This isn’t something that’s new, it’s ongoing, but I see it more and more.

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“I think there’s just so much hatred and dehumanization of people who are unhoused.”

Lee had come from Hong Kong and was attempting to find accommodation, according to Doug Johnson Hatlem, a street pastor and spokesman for the homeless organisation Sanctuary Toronto.

People who knew Lee described him as a calm man who, he claimed, had been defending a buddy from the alleged attack by the gang of teenagers.

“Nobody was surprised that he would stick up for somebody like that,” Johnson Hatlem said.

Gru, a former homeless individual who organized Tuesday’s memorial, said he and others living on the streets had one thought come to their mind after hearing about Lee’s death.

“That could be me,” he said.

“Most unhoused people will tell you personal stories of being chased by people who are looking to beat them up … We all know someone who died, we all know someone who was attacked.”

The girls had attempted to remove a liquor bottle from her, according to a friend of Lee’s who witnessed the alleged attack and told CBC Toronto that Lee had tried to stop them. Police believe there was an attempted theft during the early stages of the deadly incident, “possibly of a liquor bottle,” the case’s senior detective subsequently revealed.

The assault took place at around 12:15 a.m. local time, not far from Union Station, at the intersection of York Street and University Avenue.

According to Det.-Sgt. Terry Browne, each girl “had a role” in the killing, which is why police decided to charge all of the teenagers with second-degree murder.

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“All eight were together. All eight were involved,” he said. “I won’t say what each one individually did, but all eight were together and participating in this event, which is disturbing.”

He described the attack as a “swarming,” which normally involves selecting a target to victimize.

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