Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

‘They’ve taken a monster off the street’

Concordia student Stephanie Chen stops for a moment where people have made a makeshift memorial for murder victim Jun Lin at the base of a monument to Norman Bethune in downtown Montreal on Monday, June 4, 2012.

Peter Mccabe/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Near the Montreal school where Lin Jun studied stands a statue of Norman Bethune, the Canadian surgeon regarded as a hero in China. At Bethune's feet, a clutch of flowers and messages dedicated to Mr. Lin was slowly building Monday, paying tribute to a life cut short.

One message was particularly succinct in breaking the news that Mr. Lin's alleged killer was under arrest: "We got that beast."

But the word that surfaced with greatest frequency, as news spread around Montreal that Luka Rocco Magnotta was in police custody, was relief. Thoughts also turned once again to Mr. Magnotta's alleged victim, Mr. Lin, the 33-year-old Chinese computer science student whose body was torn apart after he was killed.

Story continues below advertisement

"I feel much better now that a suspect is caught. People will feel much safer," said Huang Kankan, the convenience store owner who described Mr. Lin as a model employee. "Maybe now we will see some justice."

Mr. Huang is the last person known to have seen Mr. Lin alive, besides his killer who videotaped the attack. Mr. Huang said he had not heard from Mr. Lin's parents, who are planning to travel to Montreal to collect their son's remains. But he said he expects to see them when they arrive. "It's kind of the Chinese way of doing things," he said.

Mr. Huang said he was anxious to tell the parents their son was a good worker, a responsible and kind man.

Mr. Lin also had a notable amount of courage. Before coming to Canada last year, he lived proudly and openly gay in conservative China, where homosexuality was considered a mental illness as recently as 2001.

Acquaintances of Mr. Lin in Montreal recalled he was looking for love. The last entry on his Facebook page was dated May 11. It included a photo of a park on which he wrote: "It's too, too, too, beautiful."

At the memorial to Bethune, a Canadian physician who died in 1939 while helping defend Communist China against Japanese invaders, passersby stopped at the site to take in the rain-splattered testament. Some, like Afrodite Papadakis, started to cry at the sight of Mr. Lin's photograph pasted to the granite.

"He's an innocent boy, and he was looking for love in the wrong places," she said as she looked at a black-and-white photo of Mr. Lin affixed to the statue's base. "How can his parents go on after this?"

Story continues below advertisement

Donovan Edwards knew Mr. Lin as a regular at the Tim Hortons near the campus of Concordia University where Mr. Lin studied. He recalls a polite and decent man, working to make his way in his adopted home.

"He was someone from a different country who came here for a better life," Mr. Edwards said. He, too, expressed relief at Mr. Magnotta's arrest.

"They've taken a monster off the street," he said.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Authors

Ingrid Peritz has been a Montreal-based correspondent for The Globe and Mail since 1998. Her reporting on the plight of Canadians suffering from the damaging effects of the drug thalidomide helped victims obtain federal compensation and earned The Globe and Mail a National Newspaper Award, Canadian Journalism Foundation award, and the Michener Award for public service. More

National correspondent

Les Perreaux joined the Montreal bureau of the Globe and Mail in 2008. He previously worked for the Canadian Press covering national and international affairs, including federal and Quebec politics and the war in Afghanistan. More

Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.