By Ray Hudson
-More coming says Mike Morris, Public Safety Minister
“The laying of charges in the shootings last August in Richmond, is an indication of the kind of work that has been done by police forces in the Lower Mainland to combat some of the street level crime,” said Mike Morris, Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General. “These are a couple of arrests in a series of arrests that will be taking place in the next little while to impact those folks that are causing all the havoc down there.”
Thomas Duong, 20, of Richmond and Sahand Askari, 31, a Burnaby resident are charged with two counts each, including attempted murder. Duong was already in custody on an unrelated matter and Askari is believed to be outside of Canada.
Speaking by phone from his office in Prince George, Morris wanted to emphasize that despite the seemingly large number of shootings, particularly around Surrey and Delta, the numbers have been declining overall.
When asked about the frustrating circumstances of individuals being shot not cooperating with police, he replied that it was simply the Canadian justice system.
“The rights and freedoms that we have are applicable to everybody, Morris said. “We have to run by the letter of the law. It poses a lot of complications with respect to investigations but at the end of the day, that’s the only way we can operate.
“The police have been working diligently behind the scenes and are on top of it. The rate of violent crime in Surrey and some of the surrounding communities has actually gone down over the last couple of years,” the minister said, referring to a graph that showed the most active year as 2009, “they’ve been working across the lower mainland to track the criminals. They’re doing a pretty good job on this and I think we’re going to hear some news in the near future of some of the successes we’re having.”
“Judging by my past experience on the force I think the RCMP in Surrey have done a phenomenal job getting those numbers to where they are right now,” he added.
*Note the 2015 figures were to end of August 2015.