Toronto man arrested in connection with 26 hoax phone bomb threats

Ministry of Transport reviewed security after spike in hate crimes, including nearly $100,000 in bomb threats.

A 37-year-old man has been arrested in connection with more than two dozen malicious mischief and phone bomb threats that police have linked to an anti-government rant posted online over the weekend.

The comments, published to a homemade Youtube video and directed at the Governor General, were said to be part of a video “announcing the first mass public execution of all convicted criminals who commit major crimes, from rap-music moguls to British paedophiles to Syrian war criminals”.

Man charged with inciting hate online over anti-government video Read more

In the YouTube video, published on Sunday, the man – speaking in Pashto with a slight Canadian accent – claimed Canada was an “America-created and supported dominion” and said it would “break completely” and urge its residents to commit mass public execution.

Police said the threats continued to materialize and to cost Toronto police, Toronto public transit and a Toronto Argonauts football stadium around $140,000.

“We’re working with our partner [police services] in Toronto to see where we can place the charges,” a Ministry of Transport spokesperson said in an email. “This is an active investigation and we don’t want to jeopardize any evidence or lines of inquiry.”

On Tuesday, police said they believed the threats were “politically motivated hate incidents” motivated by “anti-government sentiment” and arrested a man, 37, who lives in Toronto. Police did not identify the suspect.

He appeared in court on Tuesday and was remanded into custody for a detention review on Thursday.

Last month the Toronto police chief Mark Saunders announced the creation of a $1m fund to combat rising hate crimes in Canada’s largest city, following a steep spike in religious, racial and other hate incidents last year.

In 2016 Toronto police reported 2,134 hate incidents, up 46% from 1,516 reported in 2015, according to a report released by the watchdog the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner (OPCC). It is believed Canada’s biggest city now has more hate crimes than the US.

“We can no longer pretend that the growing number of hate crimes in Toronto are a harmless phenomenon,” Saunders said in a statement. “We can no longer sit idly by and watch as our citizens are treated as second-class citizens. We must look out for and stand up for every citizen and every person in this city.”

More than 20 additional incidents were reported last year but four incidents remained unsolved in 2017.

The incidents last month included threats against specific subway lines, vandalism of Muslim school campuses and hate graffiti at an east Toronto mosque.

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