Police identify body in the barrel

Toronto Police Det.Justin Vander Heyden tells reporters Tuesday that the remains found in a barrel filled with concrete in Lake Ontario on Sunday were Quang Lu ofThornhill

In the words of his old associates, Greater Toronto Area mobster Quang Lu was “planted lotus.”

That refers to the Asian gangland practice of murdering someone, then dropping the body at the bottom of a deep body of water, far from the light of day.

Lu, 47 — his nicknames included “The Black Ghost” and “The Bad Luck Guy” — was found encased in concrete in a barrel by police divers on Sunday in the waters of Lake Ontario off Queens Quay E. near the foot of Jarvis St.  Lu, a divorced father of two from Thornhill, went missing on Oct. 30, 2007, shortly after returning from one of his many business trips to China.

His grey BMW Z4 sports car has never been found.  “Mr. Lu is known to police — was known to police,” said Toronto police Det. Justin Vander Heyden on Tuesday.  “Mr. Lu does have ties to Asian organized crime.”  Superstitious mobsters, of whom there are many, sometimes like their victims’ bodies to be sealed in concrete and barrels because they believe their spirits can’t get out and avenge them.

After the body is placed in a barrel, concrete powder is inserted. The powder mixes with water and hardens as the body is dropped into water, sealing the body in the barrel and anchoring it under the waves.  Det. Hank Idsinga of York Regional Police said he didn’t know how Lu came by the nickname of “The Black Ghost.”

It’s more clear why some others in his milieu sometimes called him “The Bad Luck Guy.”  Lu, who had no conventional means of supporting himself, was a frequent player at Casino Niagara, and had been known to have streaks of bad fortune at the gaming tables.  Immediately after he vanished, there was talk that he had run afoul of loan sharks at the casino.

Police declined to say which organized crime group Lu belonged to or what crimes he was believed to have been involved in.  There were no outstanding arrest warrants for him at the time of his disappearance, Vander Heyden said.  “Mr. Lu did live quite a high-risk lifestyle,” Vander Heyden said.

Toronto police said on Tuesday morning that officers received very specific information that led divers to the barrel, but would not elaborate.  “It was very specific and they were looking for that barrel in that place,” Vander Heyden said.  The detective declined to comment on whether the body had been dismembered, but did say: “At this point, we are not looking for any other remains.”

Vander Heyden said Lu was not facing criminal charges at the time of his disappearance. Idsinga said Lu was identified this morning through fingerprints.

Idsinga referred to a Toronto Star story on the discovery of the barrel that noted that bodies encased in concrete are typically well preserved.  “We identified the body through fingerprints,” Idsinga said.  The 45-gallon drum that held Lu’s body was pulled from the Toronto harbour Sunday. Police divers found it in six metres of water around 11 a.m.

Lu’s watery burial is similar to that of Greater Toronto Area marijuana grower Ding Pei Xu, 30, whose body was found by divers last year.  Xu’s body was found sealed in concrete and stuffed in luggage in Lake Ontario, close to

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