After speaking EXCLUSIVELY with NEWSTALK 1010, Premier Ford demands action
Premier Doug Ford blames the Feds, the Ontario Review Board, the Toronto Police and CAMH for letting “this nutcase” Zhebin Cong out on the streets and allowing him to leave Canada. LISTEN 👉 full audio clip 👉 link in bio . . . #camh #mentalhealth #notcriminallyresponsible #mentalhealthontario #ontariomentalhealth #dougford #premierford #torontopolice #torontonews #torontoradio @fordnationdougford @jerryagar1010 #newstalk1010
Premier Ford requested time on NEWSTALK 1010 to tell everyone, he's not sitting idle on the case involving a man who walked away from the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health.
Zhebin Cong, 47, disappeared from the hospital at the start of the month, and boarded an international flight that same day. It's believed he's flown the coop, to China.
Cong was arrested and charged with first degree murder in the 2014 death of his roommate. He was later found not criminally responsible.
In speaking with Jerry Agar, Ford said he was "disgusted" and said he would be demanding answers from Toronto Police, CAMH and the Ontario Review Board.
“They say this guy is low-risk and he chopped up his roommate with a meat cleaver like what are people thinking? Between the Toronto Police Service, the Ontario Review Board and CAMH, someone is going to be answering because if they are calling this low-risk then what is high-risk?”
At one point, Ford called Cong a "nutcase".
Ford says he supports the hospital, and claims CAMH "does great work", but says in this case, "somone dropped the ball on this."
In its updated statement Wednesday afternoon, CAMH said it is now reviewing passes and privileges for patients with unsupervised access and will increase security.
After its updated statement, Toronto Police offered new details about why it took as long as it did, for Cong's disappearance to be made public.
The service said it was advised that Cong "was a 'low risk' to public safety, to himself and was allowed on regular, unaccompanied public passes."
After searching CAMH, known addresses, shelters and hospitals, it was determined to make the public appeal on the weekend.
The ORB had given him pemission to live in the community, but it's not clear if he was doing so.
While Cong was allowed unaccompanied passes, CP24 reports that according to an ORB document, as of May of this year, he still posed a significant threat to the safety of the public and it was probably he would stop taking essential medication.
The document also says he had a desire to return to China, although his current location is unknown.
It's unclear how he was able make it to the airport, let alone buy a ticket and get through security.
The status of his passport is also unclear.
On Thursday, Police Chief Mark Saunders released his first statement on the disappearance of Cong, saying two investigations are now open.
I take this incident seriously. Two investigations are underway:
Investigation in to Zhebin Cong: The police investigation has been escalated to a full review beginning with his departure from CAMH to his status today as being unlawfully at large. We will review if he received assistance, money, or a passport from anyone who may have facilitated him leaving the country. We are working with Canadian and international law enforcement agencies. We will be seeking a Canada-wide warrant to aid in taking him in to custody if and when he returns to Canada.
Internal Review: I have instructed my team to conduct an extensive internal review of our procedures to identify any gaps in this incident from the police side so that we can ensure we exercise best practices. This will include but not be limited to looking at process, training and communication with our community agencies.
Toronto Mayor John Tory is also calling for an independant review of the case with the city sending out the following statement:
This morning, the Mayor sent a formal request to the Government of Ontario for an outside investigation. The letter (see attached) comes after positive discussions starting very early this morning by the Mayor and the Mayor's office with Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, her staff, and Premier Doug Ford's office. The Mayor hopes the Government of Ontario will move quickly to create a broad, independent review to help build public trust.
"I believe such a review could work with CAMH and the Ontario Review Board to address issues related to Mr. Cong's disappearance from the facility and the city, but there are other questions which go well beyond that and which require answers if the public is to be confident that this kind of thing won't happen again," said Mayor Tory.
The Mayor believes the provincial review should address several questions related to the process employed at both CAMH and the Ontario Review Board as well as:
• When were the police notified?
• What were the police told at that time?
• What actions did they undertake at that time?
• Did the patient have a passport in his position? How did the patient come to have a passport?
• Why did the passport control or airport/airline security system not pick up the status of this individual?
• Had any organization posted any information about his status and disappearance on any of these databases?
By answering questions such as these and others, the Mayor hopes all organizations involved and all governments involved will be able to make changes to prevent a repetition.