News

Man found guilty in 2004 murder of pawnbroker

B.C. Supreme Court Justice John Savage has found Kien Beng Tan guilty of the May 2004 murder of Richmond pawn shop owner Sonny Le.

The Friday morning second-degree murder verdict comes with a mandatory life sentence, though it has yet to be determined how long Tan will have to wait until he can apply for parole.

That could be determined during Tan’s next court appearance in B.C. Supreme Court on Feb. 16.

Tan, who holds Malaysian citizenship, had hocked a camera, laptop computer, a watch and an amethyst ring at Le’s pawn shop shortly before the 50-year-old was found stabbed to death after Le’s family had reported him missing.

In a jailhouse confession, Tan admitted to a cellmate, who was actually an undercover police officer, that he’d killed Le, who owned Lee’s Jewellers and Loans near the corner of No. 3 Road and Westminster Highway.

In 2008, police revealed that Tan had long been in their sights.

DNA evidence linked Tan to the murder scene while Tan was living in Malaysia in 2006.

But court admissibility concerns delayed efforts to have Tan brought back to Canada.

Tan was finally arrested and extradited to Canada in 2008 following his arrest by police in Belgium for credit card fraud.

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