When photographer Lincoln Clarkes began taking portraits of heroin-addicted women in a Vancouver drug ghetto, he realized many risked an untimely end. He did not know he was recording the last days of the victims of Canada's worst serial murders. \nFive of the women he hoped to have helped with his poignant portraits of femininity amid squalor are among scores still missing. \nHe expects many more to be named as police examine DNA evidence. \n"I just don't want to think about the final number," he said. \nPig farmer Robert "Willie" Pickton, 53, has pleaded not guilty to 15 murders, but is suspected in up to 65 cases of women who vanished from Vancouver's downtown eastside, known as Low Track. It is one of North America's worst areas for poverty, drugs, prostitution, Aids and crime. \nPickton was arrested last year and his committal hearing resumes on June 30 after a recess, while police continue excavating the grounds of his 4,5-hectare farm. He allegedly lured the women to the farm, 35km east of Vancouver's shiny skyscrapers and its seedy 10-block Low Track neighborhood. He is alleged to have entertained them in a building he called Piggy's Palace and then killed them. \nReports persist that he ground up the bodies and fed the remains to his pigs. \nClarkes, 45, once a fashion photographer in London and Paris, lives three blocks from Low Track. One summer day in 1997 he caught sight of Patricia Johnson, then a 20-year-old mother of two children she had abandoned, and a heroin addict and prostitute. They talked and Clarkes took her picture with two female friends. \nWhen he saw the prints, he wept. He was to spend Sunday afternoons for the next five years photographing what, in a new book of the portraits of beauty in a beastly place, he called Heroines. \nIn 1997, a Low Track prostitute told police she had been handcuffed and stabbed by Pickton, but he claimed self-defense and was never charged. \nA year later, police heard that bloody clothing, identity cards and handbags were seen at the farm. But officers were unconcerned by vanishing addicts -- even while the numbers increased each month. \nClarkes first heard of a missing woman in 1998, when he showed to her best friend a portrait of Sheila Egan, 19, who had disappeared a fortnight earlier. \n"She grabbed it and clasped it to herself, and burst into tears," he recalled. "She said she knew Sheila was dead because she hadn't called. That's when I realized something was happening, but I didn't know what." \nEgan never reached her twentieth birthday. With Johnson, she is among the 15 named in the murder charges. \nJohnson became Clarkes' friend and left him a phone message days before vanishing in 2001. Although addicted to heroin, Egan seemed to Clarkes "so fresh and young, she should have still been in school. But she was also a bit of a fashion plate and a party girl who didn't know when to stop partying, I guess." \nAnother Clarkes heroine was Julie Young, 31, last seen in October 1998. She was "heroin sick" when Clarkes first saw her. "She was hurting badly for a fix, but she still managed to pose." The women loved the portraits because, he said, "here was someone with a genuine interest in them, not for sex or drugs, but for art and photography."
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
‘SUICIDE’: Media reports said Park Won-soon went missing on Thursday after a staff member filed a sexual harassment claim against him this week Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, viewed as a potential candidate for the 2022 presidential election, was found dead of an apparent suicide hours after he was reported missing, police said, adding that he was the subject of an undisclosed investigation. In a note he is thought to have left behind on his desk, Park offered his apologies. “I thank everyone who was with me in my life. I apologize to my family for only making them suffer from pain,” according to the note that was released by his office yesterday. Park, in his letter, asked to be cremated and have his remains spread