Fugitive murder suspect returns to Canada to face charges as boyfriend fights on in Hungary

Lucy’ Li, a triplet, had a reputation as a successful swimsuit model in Toronto and her mother is a prominent figure in the Chinese-Canadian business community

Hamilton Police have issued warrants for Oliver Karafa, 28, and Yun (Lucy) Lu Li, 25, for 1st Degree Murder and Attempted Murder. (Supplied)

A fugitive murder suspect who fled Canada with her boyfriend within hours of a double shooting, and was captured by police in Hungary after three and a half months on the run in Eastern Europe, has been returned to Hamilton, Ont.

Yun “Lucy” Lu Li, 25, consented to her extradition to face Ontario charges that she killed Tyler Pratt, 39, a Vancouver man who had moved to Toronto, and tried to kill a 26-year-old woman, Pratt’s girlfriend, in Stoney Creek, Ont., on Feb. 28.

Li’s boyfriend and alleged accomplice Oliver Karafa, 29, remains in Budapest contesting the extradition process at an upcoming hearing.

Pratt was allegedly shot and killed in an industrial area at an early evening meeting between the two couples, said by police to be “associates.” The woman was shot and seriously injured but survived, and reportedly lost a pregnancy due to her injuries. Police said she has since left hospital and continues to recover.

Hamilton Police said Karafa and Li fled Canada within 24 hours of the shooting.

Li, a triplet, had a reputation as a successful swimsuit model in Toronto, alongside her sisters. Their mother is a prominent figure in the Chinese-Canadian business community. Hong Wei “Winnie” Liao runs a financial management business Respon International Group and has held fundraising events for the Liberal Party of Canada and been photographed with Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Han Tao, China’s consul general to Toronto.

The case has attracted international media attention, with outlets tagging the pair as a millennial Bonnie and Clyde.

Li’s family issued an impassioned public appeal to her after the shooting, expressing condolences to the Pratt family but also skepticism about Li’s alleged role.

“We are convinced that you are a reasonable sister and daughter, and you should not be involved in such an incident voluntarily,” it read. “We love you! We are sure that a delicate woman like you would not do such a ridiculous thing. We can hardly imagine the shock and anxiety you experienced after the incident! But in Canada, we believe in the fairness and impartiality of the judicial system. As an adult, you, like all of us, must actively cooperate with the relevant judicial authorities to find out the truth and assume your own responsibilities.”

Li arrived by plane to Canada from Budapest on Monday, accompanied by police. Hamilton Police said she was expected to appear briefly in court on Tuesday on charges of attempted murder and first degree murder, which means planned and deliberate.

“Hamilton Police Service recognizes all the efforts of our policing partners domestically and internationally, specifically, the Hungarian Fugitive Active Search Team (FAST), for the collective efforts that resulted in the arrest of these wanted individuals,” the force said in a statement.

Karafa is Slovakian-Canadian, and grew up between Slovakia and Windsor, Ont. The couple are said by Hamilton police to have travelled through Slovakia and the Czech Republic, where they first flew as fugitives, before their arrest in Budapest.

CBC News quoted a statement from the Metropolitan Court of Budapest that, at a hearing last month, “the accused woman gave her consent to the extradition,” but the man did not.

It also said Karafa is alleged to be the shooter.

Karafa remains in custody in Budapest. In 2014, he was found guilty of impaired driving causing death and other charges over the car crash death of his friend David Chiang, 24, in Toronto. Karafa was 19 at the time of the accident and sentenced to five years.

Source: National Post, July 13, 2021.

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