Parents grieve slain student Chinese family appeals for help from public to find killer

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Parents grieve slain student
Chinese family appeals for help from public to find killer
Nicholas Keung

FUNERAL: Tao Han-jiang, right, shouts ``Let justice be served'' yesterday as he leaves a North York funeral home with his wife, Fan Xiao-hau, witha photo of their daughter, Tao Lin, killed Feb. 10.

Police are searching for the killer of 19-year-old exchange student Lin Tao.
Thousands of kilometres from their home in China, Tao Lin's parents were wailing for justice at their only child's funeral.

They know nothing can bring their "little girl" back. Their only hope is to see the killer who slashed the throat of the 19-year-old York University student two weeks ago brought to justice. To that end, the family is appealing to the public for help.

"Canada is ruled by law, and we have faith in the people of this country to help serve justice for our daughter who was killed in such senseless violence," said Tao Han-jiang and wife Fan Xiao-hua in a eulogy recited by a relative at a North York funeral home yesterday.

"Our daughter will never rest in peace and the family will never rest in peace until the day the murderer is brought to justice," the parents wrote.

As the casket was being moved to the hearse, the parents chanted in Mandarin, "Let justice be served.''

Tao Lin, who came to Canada from central China's Hubei province on a student visa and studied at York University's English Language Institute until December, was attacked near the campus in the Keele St. and Finch Ave. W. area about 8 p.m. Feb. 10.

Despite financial hardship, her welder father and pharmacist mother managed to send Tao to Canada to fulfil her dream to study in English.

"They couldn't believe their little girl's life would end so abruptly and tragically. They were celebrating Chinese New Year when they got the news. The poor girl was only two days short of her 20th birthday. What a shame," lamented friend Han Li-ping.

Most of the 30 mourners at the funeral, including officials with Toronto's Chinese consulate, said they had never met the victim but came out to support the grieving parents and, as a community, condemn the violence.

Jeff Zhang, an executive with the 700-member Hubei Association of Canada in Toronto, said the ethnic community was shocked and saddened by the loss of one of their own.

"The least we can do is come out and say it loud and clear: That violence cannot be tolerated in our community and in any community," said the computer systems engineer, whose association helped arrange yesterday's service.

Zhao Peng, who encountered Tao Lin a few times while the two were studying English at York, said she was a quiet, charming young woman with a strong interest in languages.

"She didn't talk much, but she was a very serious student and did really well in school. It's sad to see a young life cut short like this," said Peng, now a Seneca College computer student.

"Lin was such a kind and sincere person," said Tao's best friend, Xiao Zhu-ling. "The society is simply too cruel and unfair to take away a young life like that."

Detective Sergeant Gary Giroux said two extra officers have been assigned to the investigation, following up on leads arising since a composite picture of the suspect was released.

Two information sessions will be held at York tomorrow to appeal for help in finding the suspect, who sustained minor cuts in the assault.

"We think the students still need to be vigilant of other students attending there with an unexplained injury ... also for the students to take the necessary precautions while they're moving around the campus," Giroux said. Police say it's a strong possibility the suspect is a student.

Tao's parents plan to take her ashes back to China.
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2002-2-27 -04:00
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