The inside story of how dogged cops caught Canada’s worst rapist

Selva SubbiahThis post includes a podcastCanada’s worst rapist, a serial predator who may have assaulted more than 1,000 women, is free from prison and one of the investigators who caught him is certain he’ll strike again. But Selva Subbiah, 56, (inset) should not pose a threat in Canada. He’s being deported to his native Malaysia. Subbiah was caught more than 25 years ago because of the dogged work of police investigators who amassed a mountain of evidence that sent him to prison for nearly a quarter century. His penitentiary sentence in Canada expired January 29, 2017. Subbiah is an unrepentant manipulator and liar who insists that he presents “zero risk” to reoffend. Experts who have examined him conclude that he poses a high risk to commit more, violent sex crimes, despite treatment he’s undergone while behind bars. He was repeatedly denied parole because of the undiminished danger he poses. Subbiah was caught in 1991 by Brian Thomson and Peter Duggan, investigators in the Toronto police department. In the podcast (after the jump), Thomson recounts in detail how he and his partner ensnared Subbiah with an undercover operation and located a trove of evidence that was key to Subbiah’s conviction and lengthy sentence.
(UPDATE – Feb. 1, 2017: As expected, Subbiah was ordered deported after an immigration and refugee board hearing.)
(SECOND UPDATE – Feb. 7, 2017: As I tweeted yesterday, Subbiah was flown to Malaysia, under guard, on Feb. 6)


A 2016 photo of serial rapist Selva Subbiah, 56
A 2016 photo of serial rapist Selva Subbiah, 56, a native of Malaysia

I’ve written often about Subbiah, while tracking his case for nearly 20 years. (Read all Cancrime coverage here, including parole records). After he was stabbed by fellow convicts at Kingston Penitentiary in 2009, Subbiah launched a federal court action that alleged that the parole board and Corrections Canada were negligent. In a patently absurd claim, Subbiah complained that the parole board violated his privacy by releasing the written record of a 2008 decision to me, which I then posted on Parole hearings are open to the public and the written records of decisions by the board also are publicly available. Subbiah claims other prisoners discovered he was a sex offender from the posting on Cancrime – sex offenders are reviled in prison. Subbiah’s claim was thrown out, after witnesses explained that his background was well known at the prison.

Subbiah served a 24-year sentence for 75 crimes, including 26 counts of sexual assault, 27 charges of administering a noxious thing and other charges of procure/attempt to procure as prostitute and extortion. He was convicted of crimes against more than 30 victims including four who were in a relationship with him. Most of his victims were in their twenties but at least four were under the age of 18 and one was 14. Most of his victims were incapacitated after they consumed a drink laced with Halcion, a powerful sedative. Subbiah undressed, raped and molested the drugged victims and took photos and videos. Most victims did not know what had happened to them. In many cases, Subbiah posed as a movie producer or recruiter for models to arrange meetings with women.

In the podcast (embedded above), retired police investigator Brian Thomson explains that he’s certain there were at least 500 victims and perhaps more than 1,000, based on the records that Subbiah kept, including photos and videos that police found when they arrested him. 

Subbiah will be “closely monitored” in Malaysia, according to a report in a Malaysian newspaper.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, based in Kuala Lumpur, told the Sun Daily that Subbiah will be permitted to live as a normal citizen as he has served his prison sentence.

“We have no rights to [prevent] his entry to the country,” the officer said, according to the report. “He has finished his jail term in Canada and will be coming here.”

Subbiah resisted treatment while behind bars and schemed to contact new victims from penitentiary. Using a female accomplice on the street, he sought phone sex and photos from women. 

Says Thomson: “He damaged and hurt so many lives.”

Chronology of a Predator

• 1980: arrived in Canada on a student visa
• 1981: convicted of possession of stolen property, granted conditional discharge 
• 1988: convicted of public mischief, fined $300
• late 80s: stole information and assumed the identity of Richard Wild
• 1991: arrested by Toronto Police in sting employing undercover female officer, charged with two counts of sexual assault, administering noxious substance; more victims came forward after his arrest was publicized
• 1992: pleaded guilty to 14 counts of sexual assault and six counts of administering a noxious substance, jailed 16 years
• 1997: pleaded guilty to another 55 charges relating to more than 20 victims
• 2008: parole board ordered him kept in prison until he served every day of his 24-year sentence because he poses a high risk to commit new, violent sex crimes
• Jan. 29, 2017: sentence expires, will be deported to Malaysia; in 2008, Subbiah told the parole board he had a “structured release plan” for his freedom in Malaysia and had “strong family support”


Podcast music: Music For Podcasts 2 (Lee Rosevere) / CC BY-SA 4.0
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