Sunday, August 7, 2016

To kill a ghost: Clinton Yow Foo

The ghost moved quietly through a Scarborough neighbourhood, speaking softly on his phone. As he walked up his driveway, the early morning silence was pierced by the faint report of a single gunshot.

The bullet covered the distance in less than half a second. Two hundred yards away the ghost crumpled and died, according to a police report. That murder, committed in the first few hours of Oct. 1, 2015, breathed new life into a case that had been dead for years. For months in 2009, Durham Regional Police Det. Cyril Gillis had watched the ghost and his gang as they partied in nightclubs, paid visits to massage parlors and dealt drugs.
After countless hours of surveillance, Gillis and his team knew a lot about the man. He was smart, never operated vehicles in his own name, was a top-ranking member in the group’s hierarchy, and he loved watches, including his pride and joy, a $48,000 timepiece.

The trail that eventually led to the identity of the ghost—37-year-old Clinton Yow Foo — started off with a gram of cocaine. An undercover agent bought the drugs on the streets of Whitby and soon increased his order to an ounce at a time. “By following the drugs and the money and through surveillance, we were able to go up the food chain and identify the actual suppliers of the cocaine,” said Gillis. The investigation was called “Project Isis.” For three months in 2009, Durham Regional Police drug and gang enforcement units watched as a crew of a dozen dealers spread marijuana, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and methamphetamine throughout Durham Region and into Toronto and York.
While executing a search warrant, police stumbled upon a stash house packed with drugs. Gillis said there was so much illegal material they couldn’t afford to leave it there and had to seize it, thus ending the project.

In the end, they captured almost $3 million worth of drugs, cash, guns and property, and started arresting everyone they knew was connected with the crew.Yow Foo was arrested and eventually he was convicted on drug and gun charges and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Gillis thought he had finally caught the ghost, but in 2013 Yow Foo successfully appealed his conviction on the basis that he had no knowledge or control of the closet and its contents. He was then acquitted of all charges and set free.
The ghost vanished until Oct. 1 last year, when Toronto Police received a 911 call about a dead man in the driveway of a house on Kingston Rd. It was Yow Foo. Police revealed that Yow Foo had been shot from 200 yards away by a skilled “sniper” using a “high-powered rifle.” “This is a shot that was made at a considerable distance — at night, in the dark, it was windy, and Yow Foo was on the move when he was shot,” said Toronto police Det. Sgt. Tam Bui. The firearm used was a Browning BLR short magnum lever-action rifle with a Bushnell scope and bipod. “It’s definitely not a sniper rifle,”

Nicolo Rizzuto
Homicides involving snipers are very rare in Canada. According to police reports, on Nov. 10, 2010, Nicolo Rizzuto, the 86-year-old godfather of Montreal’s Rizzuto crime family, was shot through a window by at least one shooter who was waiting in the woods behind the family home. Nicolo and Vito Rizzuto lived next to each other on Antoine Berthelet Ave., a pricey cul-de-sac dubbed “Mafia Alley.” Paolo Renda also had a home on the street.

Toronto police have hinted the rifle used to shoot Yow Foo is connected to Montreal and have confirmed it fires a .300 calibre bullet, the same calibre that was used to kill Rizzuto.