The city’s 14th homicide occurred during the robbery of a “defacto brothel” in a Yaletown highrise, said police Monday as they announced the arrest of two suspects.
Justin Lam and Derick Chin Wai Wong, both 20-year-old Vancouver residents, are scheduled to appear in provincial court Tuesday, charged in the June 11th stabbing death of Jeffrey Qi Feng Bian.
Lam is charged with first-degree murder and Wong is charged with manslaughter in Bian’s death. Both are also charged with robbery, unlawful confinement and using an imitation firearm in an indictable offence.
In the early morning of June 11, Police were called to the 18th floor condo located on Marinaside Crescent in Yaletown.
They found Bian, 29, suffering from stab wounds. He was taken to hospital, but later died. Two women were in the suite and were taken into custody for questioning.
Supt. Rob Rothwell of Vancouver’s investigation division said Bian had rented the suite for the past five months.
“We have reason to believe the suite was being operated as a massage parlour, or a defacto brothel,” Rothwell said. “We also believe it was targeted for robbery for that reason.”
Rothwell said he would not get into Bian’s specific role in the brothel, other than to say that he was involved in it. He said Bian was known to police, but did not have a criminal record.
Over the next eight days, 11 homicide investigators interviewed witnesses, obtained surveillance video and searched a number of homes and vehicles.
Lam and Wong were arrested without incident in Vancouver on Friday.
Police believe there have been similar robberies of brothels in the past that were not reported to police.
He said people should be aware that these businesses exist and should report suspicious behaviour, such as visitors throughout the day and evening, to police.
“These types of brothels have existed for a long time. They continue to exist and they tend to locate themselves in some of the higher-end buildings and condominiums.”