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Repeat offender faces second-degree murder charge in Chinatown killing

Jaal Routh Kueth has a criminal record and current allegations that suggest an increasing level of violence.
Vancouver Police Department media relations officer Const. Tania Visintin.

A Surrey man with a lengthy criminal record has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the fatal stabbing of a man in Vancouver's Chinatown.

The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) said Nikolai Sugak, 32, was found gravely injured near West Pender and Carrall Streets shortly after midnight on Feb. 6.

Despite receiving emergency medical attention, Sugak died shortly after he was found.

Police believe Sugak was stabbed by a stranger in nearby Shanghai Alley before collapsing into the street. The death led to a five-week investigation. 

The B.C. Prosecution Service has approved one count of second-degree murder against Jaal Routh Kueth, 30.

Kueth first appeared on the charge in Vancouver Provincial Court on March 17 before Judge Jennifer Oulton.

The judge ordered Kueth detained "due to the nature of the charge." She said any bail order would be dealt with in B.C. Supreme Court.

"He is a repeat offender," VPD spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin said. "He has a long sheet of offences."

Visintin said the violent offence caused significant concern about crime and public safety in the neighbourhood.

"Our homicide team worked quickly to collect key evidence that led to the arrest of the suspect, and we hope this arrest will restore a sense of ease in the area," she said.

Police found no evidence the two knew each other, which made the crime more troubling for area residents.

"We have found no evidence that the victim and his attacker knew each other or had any prior interactions before the murder," adds Constable Visintin. "We believe they were strangers."

Court records show Kueth has a lengthy criminal history with convictions for assaults with a weapon, possession of controlled substances, break and enters, possession for the purpose of trafficking, theft under $5,000, breaches of probation and court undertakings and possession of break-in implements.

He was due in Surrey Provincial Court on March 17 on two allegations of aggravated assault.

Defence lawyer Leo Fumano asked for a next appearance date of April 13, to which Oulton agreed.

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