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Rosie DiManno: Zhebin Cong’s flight from CAMH — and Canada — leaves more questions than answers

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I once escaped from CAMH. Of course, I wasn’t a “not criminally responsible” murderer who’d hacked a man to death with a meat cleaver. Just run of the mill suicidal.

Simply walked out of locked-down security by mingling with a group of visiting nursing students as they departed.

In bare feet. Nobody noticed.

First stop: Eaton Centre. “Need shoes,” I told the salesperson, stating the obvious. Paid with the credit card stuffed in my back pocket. Everything else, including footwear, had been left in my room. Have to seize the opportunity when it arises.

I was never a danger to anybody else. That is emphatically not true of Zhebin Cong.

The 48-year-old was found not criminally responsible of second-degree murder at trial in the 2014 killing of roommate San Tai Yuan and has been at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health ever since.

At his most recent annual hearing before the Ontario Review Board three months ago, the board concluded, “We find that Mr. Cong continues to pose a significant threat to the safety of the public. The evidence amply supports this finding.”

According to that document, obtained by the Star, the detention would remain in place for another year. “Without the oversight of the hospital ... we find that it is more probable than not that Mr. Cong will again stop taking prescribed medication and stop essential mental health care and risk management followup, will suffer a relapse of his illness with acute psychotic symptoms, and will engage in seriously harmful criminal conduct.’’

This is the same Cong who escaped CAMH two weeks ago and then got on a plane for parts unknown, although probably aiming for China, where he was born. Cong immigrated to Canada in 2010 as a permanent resident.

Yet police didn’t reveal that Cong had lammed it until just this past Monday, and even then didn’t mention that Cong had fled CAMH or that he was dangerous, blandly informing the public only that he was last seen........

© Toronto Star