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Manager at Red Lion Inn is charged with stabbings of five employees

Nov 20 2012
Emergency crews gather in the parking lot of the Fox Showroom after a stabbing incident at the neighbouring Red Lion Hotel on Douglas Street on Nov. 17, 2012. (ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST 

Emergency crews gather in the parking lot of the Fox Showroom after a stabbing incident at the neighbouring Red Lion Hotel on Douglas Street on Nov. 17, 2012. (ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Photograph by: ADRIAN LAM, timescolonist.com , (November 2012)

A Victoria hotelier appeared in provincial court Monday facing five charges of aggravated assault, after a string of stabbings at the Red Lion Inn and Suites on the weekend.

Red Lion part-owner Zhi Wei Meng, 54 — who goes by the name Wally — made a brief appearance and is expected to return to court Friday, giving his lawyer more time to understand what happened Saturday at the hotel complex, located at 3366 Douglas St.

A sombre Meng, who is also part-owner of the Helm’s Inn and Capital CityCenter (a former Traveller’s Inn) in Victoria, sat quietly in the prisoner’s box, looking around the court, as if searching for someone in the public gallery.

His long-time business partner, Jamie Wu, was back at work at the Red Lion, confused about what motivated the weekend incident where five of their employees were stabbed.

“I’ve never seen anything like that before,” he said. “He’s never been that type of person.”

Saanich police, who have video-surveillance recordings from inside the building, have said all the men were stabbed by a man with a pair of closed scissors. The first two stabbings happened in the Jade Fountain Restaurant dining room, in the hotel’s lower level, which was closed at the time preparing for the dinner crowd. A third man was then stabbed, in the restaurant kitchen.

The attacker went back into the restaurant dining room and stabbed a fourth staff member before going upstairs and attacking the fifth person, who was working at the front desk.

The victims were taken to hospital and were released by Sunday. All five men know the man who stabbed them, said Sgt. Chris Horsley of Saanich police.

“Some of them had just said ‘hi’ to him, and the next thing they knew, he was stabbing them,” Horsley said.

Investigators say evidence shows the attacker was not provoked before any of the attacks.

“We’re certainly going to ascertain if there are mental-health issues at play here, because anytime we have something like this without any sort of provocation, it makes you wonder what’s going on in that person’s mind,” Horsley said.

After the stabbings, the attacker locked himself in an office room, where he was located by police. Officers kicked in the door and arrested him without resistance, Horsley said.

During the investigation, the Red Lion Inn and its associated restaurant, bars and liquor store were evacuated. Staff and patrons filed into the cordoned-off parking lots between the Galloping Goose Trail and Douglas Street.

Police left the complex late Sunday morning, but several businesses remained closed. Jade Fountain Restaurant and the liquor store were open Monday.

dspalding@timescolonist.com

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