Friends of Canada Victim Remember Quiet Student
TORONTO (AP) - On his blog, he liked to call himself Big Bad Justin, but in reality, according to his postings and his acquaintances, Jun Lin was a quiet, unassuming man who came to Canada from China to study engineering and computer science. As a cashier at a convenience store, he never missed a shift. He loved his cat and queued up for the new iPhone on the day it went on sale.
Now his parents are here to collect the dismembered remains of the victim of a murder that has appalled the world with its gruesomeness, videotaped and posted on the Internet.
"I’m going to Canada!" he posted on May 10, 2010.
Last week parts of him turned up in parcels mailed to Canada’s two main political parties. A torso was found in a suitcase on a garbage dump in Montreal, outside the apartment building where he is thought to have been killed. Police reported that what looked like a foot and hand, separately mailed to two Vancouver schools and discovered Tuesday, are thought to be linked to the case. Police are waiting for the head to turn up.
On his blog, the 33-year-old indulged his love for fashion, home-cooked food, Apple products, American TV and Andy his tabby cat.
A copy of what police believe is the video of the killing shows a bound, blindfolded man naked on a bed being stabbed to death with an ice pick, then dismembered.
Investigators suspect a 29-year-old Montreal man, Luka Rocco Magnotta of committing the murder and posting the video online. He was caught at a cafe in Berlin. Montreal police say he and Lin were dating, but no reference to the suspect has yet been found in Lin’s extensive online postings.
"I don’t know under what circumstances they knew each other, but for someone to target him, I never would have thought this," said Zoya De Frias Lakhany, who was Lin’s friend and fellow student at Concordia University in Montreal.
Lin was a shy, straight-A computer student - "so nice, humble and honest," said De Frias Lakhany, 21. "He was really involved in his studies and never missed class."
On the Chinese microblogging site weibo.com, Lin wrote excitedly about moving to Canada. Upon arriving in Montreal, he kept up his mostly cheerful blogging, although he sometimes betrayed a sense of loneliness.
"Class is to begin soon," reads one posting from last year, accompanied by a photo of an empty classroom. "I’m so nervous. Been out of school for so long."
"I just realized I am 10 years older than my classmates," he wrote a month later. "They can call me Uncle. It’s so crushing."
More than 1,000 entries are scattered with photos he took of himself. In some, he stares at the camera, expressionless. In others, he makes faces or poses shirtless.
The photos were accompanied by discussions of his diet and plans for staying fit.
"My calves are getting so thick," he complained one day. "I am on diet - chicken breast, broccoli, tomatoes, peas and whole-wheat bread."
A few days later, he explained his weight gain: "I know why I am so fat in Canada. Butter and bread in the morning. I’m so fat," he wrote.
Yet the photos show a slender man. Followers of his blog commented that he was cute.
Lin’s last blog entry, dated May 16, 2012, has drawn 40,000 comments, most of them expressing shock and condolences over his death. But some of the posters debate homosexuality, with many suggesting Lin’s sexuality led him into a dangerous situation. China’s government considered homosexuality a mental disorder until 2001 and it remains a sensitive topic in the country, where gays are frequently ostracized.
Friends and strangers have lit virtual candles on Lin’s blog. A Facebook page dedicated to Lin features photos of him traveling and posts demanding swift justice for Magnotta, a former porn actor who, authorities say, flew to Paris shortly after the killing and spent several days partying and evading police before his arrest in Berlin.
At the Montreal convenience store where Lin’s boss says he never failed to show up for work, a memorial is piled with flowers and sympathy cards written in English, French and Mandarin.
The Chinese consulate in Montreal said Lin’s family plans to speak with the media when they are ready.
De Frias Lakhany said her friend seemed happy in Montreal.
"He would take pictures of the snow and post them," she said "He was sweet, never complained and smiled all the time."