MONTREAL - A candlelight vigil will be held Thursday evening in memory of Jun Lin, the victim of a "devastating" dismemberment slaying his family says not only shook them but society as a whole.
The vigil was announced as Lin's family released a heartfelt letter to the public on Tuesday expressing their gratitude for the support they've received since their son was killed.
"Everyone has showed great sympathy and compassionate support to help to make things easier for us," they said. "We are deeply touched by the kindness inspired by this human tragedy."
Lin's torso was discovered in a suitcase outside a working-class apartment building in Montreal on May 29. A hand and foot were mailed to political parties in Ottawa and another hand and foot were later delivered to schools in Vancouver.
The slaying of Lin sparked an international manhunt which led to the arrest in Berlin last week of Luka Rocco Magnotta, a porn actor and model who police said was acquainted with the Chinese student. He is charged with first-degree murder in Lin's death.
Lin's grieving parents, sister and uncle arrived in Montreal last week to settle his affairs and bring his body back to China for burial.
In the meantime, a fund was created to pay for their expenses and an award was announced to keep Lin's memory alive, something the family appreciated.
"It is our wish to take this opportunity to turn a devastating situation into something positive that brings the goodness and peace back to society," they wrote in the letter.
Thursday's memorial is being organized by friends who announced it on a Facebook tribute page and Twitter.
The vigil is being held at a downtown park a few blocks from Concordia University where Lin studied computer science and engineering.
A small shrine was set up after his death near Concordia by the statue of Norman Bethune, a Canadian surgeon who became a Chinese hero because of his work in their country. Other messages of sympathy have been posted in the convenience store where Lin worked.
In the letter, his family said his killing had been a brutal blow to them.
"This tragic loss is not only a devastating attack to our family, but also has had a tremendous impact on the whole society. Love and trust must be rebuilt."
Lin's parents quoted his friends, who described him as optimistic, ambitious and open-minded.
"Jun Lin was our beloved son," the family wrote in the letter. "As the only son in the family, he was our pride and hope. Jun Lin believed in Buddhism. He was very kind and always helping others. To his parents, he was a loving and considerate son. To his sister, he was a big brother who was always there for her."
Lin was also remembered as a keen student and model employee at the convenience store where he worked.
The family also called for the extradition of his alleged killer back to Canada "in order to bring justice and peace to our family, the Chinese community and the whole society.
"To commemorate Jun Lin, please let us remember his kindness, diligence and love of life," the family concluded.