Cannibal Man from Wuhan

Lessons on immigration, law, and terrorism.

Vince Weiguang Li was born in Dandong, People’s Republic of China, on April 30, 1968, and graduated from University of Wuhan Institute of Technology with a degree in computer science. From 1994-1998 he reportedly worked as a software engineer in Beijing, but in Canada, where Li immigrated in 2001, he worked at menial jobs, fast-food restaurants, Wal-Mart and such. Li became a Canadian citizen in 2006, and on July 30, 2008, he boarded a Greyhound bus for Winnipeg.

Li sat next to Timothy McLean, 22, returning from work at a summer fair. Li suddenly brandished a large knife and began stabbing McLean in the chest. The larger, stronger man killed McLean then cut off his head, displaying it like a trophy to terrified passengers outside the halted bus.

Li frightened off would-be heroes then reentered the bus, where he dismembered McLean and began eating his victim’s innards. Li had no gun but a heavily armed Royal Canadian Mounted Police squad did not force entry and take down the murderer. Instead they waited several hours until Li broke through a window. The “Canadian cannibal,” as headlines described him, was then subdued and arrested. Officers declined to identify the killer or the victim.

Police found McLean’s nose and tongue in Li’s pocket. According to one report, “findings later revealed McLean’s eyes and part of his heart were never recovered, supposedly eaten by his killer that night.”

Li appeared in court in Portage La Prairie and was charged with second-degree murder. As the court noted, Li had no documented history of mental illness before the killing. Also absent was any history of truancy, vandalism, or behavioral difficulties well into his adult years. Even so, a psychiatrist diagnosed Li as a schizophrenic who reportedly believed McLean was about to kill him.

Li did not know McLean and there was no evidence he had planned the murder. On the other hand, Li had attempted to drive off the bus, which the driver had disabled, and took other evasive actions. That constituted evidence that he knew what he did was wrong. Even so, the court found Li not responsible for the crime. In June 2009, Li was remanded to the Selkirk Mental Health Centre. In 2010 he was allowed outside the locked ward and in 2012 granted short, escorted visits into the city of Selkirk, Manitoba.

In February 2017, Li received an absolute discharge with no requirement to attend reviews or abide by conditions. Chris Summerville of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada told reporters “society has nothing to worry about, really.” Li changed his name to Will Lee Baker and  signed up for a post-secondary training course, his degree in computer science from the Wuhan Institute of Technology apparently useless, as when he first showed up in Canada.

My son’s still dead,” recalled Carol deDelley, mother of Tim McLean, who was hardly the only casualty. Ken Barker, the RCMP corporal who witness the beheading, never recovered from the shock and committed suicide in 2014. Bus passengers were severely traumatized and after one gave birth years later, social workers seized her newborn daughter on the grounds that PTSD made her an unfit mother. All told, the case renders plenty to ponder.

Legal immigrants with college degrees are not always what they claim to be, and the mental illness excuse is not limited to cannibals like Vince Li. In 2018 in Toronto, Pakistani immigrant Faisal Hussain deployed a handgun and targeted pedestrians and crowded restaurants. The shooting spree claimed the lives of Reese Fallon, 18, and a 10-year-old girl, with 13 others injured. Hussain’s family rushed out with a statement that Faisal struggled with “severe mental challenges.”

The allegedly challenged Vince Li, now living as a free man, raises questions about criminal defendant Habibullah Ahmadi. Li was confined for less than 10 years for a savage act claiming the life of Tim McLean, who at only 22 had his best years ahead of him. Habibullah Ahmadi is accused of murdering Anne Widholm in Windsor Ontario in 2017, in one of the most brutal attacks neurosurgeon Balraj Jhawar had ever seen.

Anne Widholm was a grandmother of 75, and Canadian politicians have never decried her murder, even as an example of violence against women. “Windsor man” Habibullah Ahmadi could therefore expect a sentence less than ten years, that is, if his case ever comes to trial.

Under the Canadian Supreme Court’s 2016 Jordan decision, if a trial for an indictable offense hasn’t concluded within 30 months, the defense can apply to have the criminal charges tossed. The deadline for accused murderer Habibullah Ahmadi had been April, 2020, but the case has been adjourned until June 5, 2020.

Anne Widholm is still dead. Habibullah Ahmadi could soon be walking free, just like Will Lee Baker, also known as Vince Li, who killed, beheaded and cannibalized Tim McLean, 22, returning from work at a summer fair.

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