Singaporean student has ear bitten off by Canadian police dog during chase
Canadian police have since apologised
He was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and might have been wrongly identified as a suspect in a double homicide and kidnapping.
He ended up being attacked by a police dog that tore into him, ripping off his ear lobe and chomping on his thigh.
Mr Vicknesh Supramaniam, a 26-year-old Singaporean studying in Canada, kept shouting that he was innocent, but his cries went unheeded.
The incident happened in New Westminster, a city in British Columbia, Canada, on Monday afternoon (Tuesday morning, Singapore time) during a dramatic police takedown of several suspects following a car chase.
Mr Vicknesh was driving to a Home Depot hardware store when he heard sirens from a police chase and pulled over.
RECOVERING: Mr Vicknesh Supramaniam in the interview with Canadian news outlet Global News. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GLOBAL NEWS
A white car that was being pursued by the police then crashed into his car.
The chase was part of a police operation relating to the murders of a man and woman in their home in East Vancouver, and the kidnapping of another man from the house, on Saturday night.
In an interview with Canadian news outlet Global News while recovering in hospital, Mr Vicknesh said: ''I started seeing smoke in the white Acura, and my instincts were not to stay in the car.
''The moment I got out, I heard shots and took cover behind a bus stop bench.''
The next thing he knew, a police dog was attacking him.
TRAINED: A dog used during operations by Canadian police. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GLOBAL NEWS
''The dog bit me and dragged me all the way down the hill. All I saw was just blood all over me,'' he said.
In another interview the next day with Global News, he said: ''Why did they have to attack me? I kept saying I'm innocent, I'm innocent, I'm not part of these people you are looking for.
''I want them to answer for what they did.''
CBC news reported that a witness who came out of her home saw a police dog ''dragging a man down the little grassy hill''.
RECOVERING: The wounds on his thigh after a police dog bit his leg and dragged him down a hill. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GLOBAL NEWS
The witness also said she was later told that the loud bangs were stun bombs.
The dog ripped off part of Mr Vicknesh's left ear lobe, and left him with bite marks on his thigh.
On Tuesday, Vancouver police apologised for the injuries sustained by two innocent bystanders during the arrest of three suspects.
Without naming Mr Vicknesh, they said a male bystander suffered serious injuries after he was bitten by a police dog.
The incident has sparked demands by civil rights advocates for changes to police dog takedowns.
A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said last night that it was rendering necessary consular assistance to Mr Vicknesh and his family members.
Yesterday, Mr Vicknesh told The New Paper over the phone that he had been discharged from hospital and will be seeing a plastic surgeon today.
''I've been through a lot these few days. It's been a very traumatic experience that no one should ever go through.
''I want to put the past behind me and move forward with my health and (be on) the road to recovery,'' said Mr Vicknesh, who is taking a two-year programme in Vancouver to become a pilot.
PILOT PLANS IN LIMBO
The savage attack has now put those plans in limbo.
His brother, Mr Gunashekaran Supramaniam, 37, who helps their father run a minimart in Woodlands, said the incident had greatly affected the family.
''We work hard here to pay the expenses for him to study in Canada, and this happens,'' he said.
''I don't understand why they had to release the police dog on him. It's ridiculous.''
Mr Gunashekaran said their mother died of cancer two years ago, and their father, who is almost 70, was heartbroken to hear about what happened to Mr Vicknesh.
''He's very affected, and my brother's education and dreams are now on the line,'' he said.
He added that Vancouver police have yet to find the ear lobe that was torn off.
The youngest brother, Mr Gopinath Supramaniam, 25, who also helps out at the minimart, said Mr Vicknesh was supposed to graduate next year and return to Singapore.
''We've been talking to him every day through video calls,'' he said.
When asked if the family intends to fly to Canada to see Mr Vicknesh, he said that Mr Vicknesh lives with their eldest brother in Vancouver. That brother and Mr Vicknesh's girlfriend are looking after him.
''We trust that my oldest brother has everything under control, and even if we go over, we can't do anything,'' he said.
''It is also not advisable for my father to take a 22-hour flight because he is not in the best condition.
''We need Vicknesh to get well, and we're focused on what we can do next. We just want him to recover and carry on with life.''
Why did they have to attack me? I kept saying I'm innocent, I'm innocent, I'm not part of these people you are looking for.
— Mr Vicknesh Supramaniam
Three men charged with assault, kidnapping
Three men in their 20s have been charged with kidnapping, extortion and aggravated assault.
They were arrested earlier this week in relation to a double murder and abduction case in East Vancouver, Canada.
The Vancouver Sun named the three accused as Harinam Ananda Cox, 21, Shamil Amir Ali, 22, and Gopal Figueredo, 24.
According to the paper, a court records search of Ali's and Figueredo's names showed that Ali had been linked to offences such as assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, robbery and mischief, and Figueredo's records include aggravated assault, possession of a firearm, and robbery with the use of a weapon.
STUCK: Mr Vicknesh Supramaniam had stopped his blue Mazda (far left) when he heard police sirens. A white car that was being chased by the police then crashed into his. PHOTO SCREENGRAB FROM GLOBAL NEWS
Shortly before 10pm on Saturday in Vancouver, the police were called to a house in Dieppe Place, where they discovered the bodies of a man and a woman.
The victims have been identified as Mr Xuan Vanvy Bacao, 24, and Ms Samantha Le, 29.
A four-year-old boy was found unharmed in the home.
Evidence gathered showed that a man who lived in the house had been kidnapped.
Police believe the murders and abduction were targeted incidents.
On Monday afternoon in New Westminster, the police rescued the kidnap victim and arrested several people during a dramatic operation.
The Vancouver Sun reported that two innocent bystanders were injured during the operation.
Apart from Mr Vicknesh Supramaniam, a woman was also injured when her car was crashed into.
The next day, Acting Sergeant Brian Montague, the Vancouver Police Department's spokesman, told a news conference: "We're dealing with an active kidnapping. We had an opportunity to rescue the kidnap victim. We took that opportunity.
"We apologise that someone from the public had to get caught up in something like that. Our officers are reaching out to their families to see if there's anything we can do to help them, but there's no doubt that they'll be traumatised."
On Wednesday, the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of British Columbia announced that it was investigating the arrests because a male bystander suffered serious injuries, reported the Vancouver Sun.
The IIO investigates all police-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, and its job is to determine if any officer may have committed an offence that resulted in the bystander being injured.
The IIO is not investigating the incident involving the injured female bystander because her injuries do not meet the criteria for serious harm.
Investigations into the homicides and kidnapping are ongoing, and the police are still hunting for other suspects.