TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Condolences and support have started to pour in after a Taiwanese-Canadian member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) was stabbed to death by a homeless man while on duty on Tuesday (Oct. 18).
At 11:05 a.m. on Tuesday, Constable Shaelyn Tzu-Hsin Yang, 31, had accompanied a parks worker to advise a homeless man camped out at a park in Burnaby, a municipality in Vancouver, British Columbia, that he needed to leave the premises. According to the RCMP, an altercation took place and Yang was fatally stabbed, and although first responders rushed to the scene to provide emergency treatment, she succumbed to her injuries at a hospital about 30 minutes after the stabbing.
The suspect, identified as 37-year-old Jongwon Ham, was shot and sustained non-life-threatening injuries and is currently undergoing treatment at a nearby hospital. The Vancouver Sun reports that Ham, who is now facing murder charges, also allegedly committed an assault in Vancouver on March 17.
Ham has reportedly had a number of violent episodes with police in the past. He was charged in Feb. 2021 with assault and willfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer.
Prior to becoming a Mountie in 2019, Yang had served with victim services in Richmond, Vancouver, where she resided. Once she joined the RCMP, she was a member of a team that specialized in handling homelessness and mental health issues in Burnaby.
On Wednesday (Oct. 19), the House of Commons held a moment of silence to honor Yang, after which opposition leader Pierre Poilievre said that she had been murdered while "courageously doing her job," reported CBC. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, "My heart goes out to the family of Constable Yang, to the community, not just in B.C. but right across the country," and stated that officers tasked with mental health outreach need "the tools to be supported as they encounter difficulties."
An official from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Vancouver told CNA that they immediately contacted the RCMP and confirmed that the parents of the deceased policewoman were immigrants from Taichung City and expressed deep condolences to the family. "Anything the family needs, the office will provide all the help it can as soon as possible," said the official.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) said that the ministry deeply regrets the loss of Yang and has asked the Vancouver TECO team to express the country's condolences to her family members and provide any assistance needed.
Memorial to Yang. (RCMP photo)
Constable Shaelyn Yang— Burnaby RCMP (@BurnabyRCMP) October 19, 2022
Regimental number 66231
Loving wife, sister, daughter, friend... Our hero.
Forever with us pic.twitter.com/5386Unm4lF