Toronto police investigate after man said to pose threat to public leaves country by air

Toronto police are investigating after a man who was found to pose a “significant threat to the safety of the public” in April boarded an international flight and left Canada earlier this month.

Zhebin Cong, 47, got on an international flight on July 3, said police, who wouldn’t disclose where he went.

In 2016, Cong was found not criminally responsible on a charge of second-degree murder because of a mental disorder. Ontario Review Board documents in April described him as posing a continued threat to public safety.

The same documents describe Cong as living in a general forensic unit at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), and say he is suffering from schizophrenia. The CBC has not confirmed where Cong was living on July 3.

Cong had been charged with murder in 2014 in the death of San Tai Yuan at a rooming house in suburban Toronto, in North York.

Police say Cong went missing from the intersection of Ossington Avenue and Queen Street West, where CAMH is located, hours before he fled the country.

Toronto police to provide update

In a statement issued Tuesday, CAMH did not confirm Cong’s status with the facility, but said it will provide an update later Wednesday.

In the statement, CAMH also said it cannot provide details about individual patients.

The centre did, however, share details about its forensic mental health program and the circumstances in which patients in that program who are housed in “secure forensic units” are allowed to leave.

“Privileges such as community passes are only granted if several conditions are met, including Ontario Review Board authorization,” said the statement.

Const. Caroline de Kloet of Toronto police said officers are working with international law enforcement on “next steps” and that the investigation continues.

The original police news release described Cong as someone who had difficulty speaking English, and said police were concerned for his safety.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said Wednesday morning in a statement that he has “many questions about how this could have happened.”

He also wrote he’s confident CAMH and authorities are working hard, and “will make any changes necessary to make sure this situation is never repeated.”

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