What the jury doesn’t know at Frank Cao’s trial | Murder of Tammy Lu: a “failed kidnapping”, according to the police

Overwhelmed by financial problems, Frank Cao allegedly tried to kidnap Tammy Lu in a parking lot in L’Île-des-Sœurs, but ended up strangling her to death. This “police theory” was, however, not presented to the jurors, who have been deliberating since Monday. The jury also ignores that the accused was involved in another alleged kidnapping.

Frank Cao is accused of the first degree murder of Shao Jing “Tammy” Lu, an ordinary Montrealer found strangled in her car, on September 7, 2020, in the interior parking lot of a residential tower. His trial began two months ago at the Gouin Judicial Center.

According to the Crown, Frank Cao planned his action well. He had been hiding in the parking lot for hours on the day of the murder. His DNA was found not only on the victim’s handbag, but under their fingernails.

However, the motive remains a mystery in this affair. Why would Frank Cao kill this woman he didn’t know? The evidence presented does not expose any connection between the victim and Frank Cao. That said, it is not necessary to show motive to obtain a guilty verdict.


Shao Jing “Tammy” Lu was killed on September 7, 2020 in L’Île-des-Sœurs, in Montreal. Frank Cao is charged with first degree murder.

A non-jury debate during the trial, however, made it possible to learn more about the accused’s possible motive.

“The circumstances of the murder of Mme Lu can be compared to a botched kidnapping. This is what the investigation has revealed from the beginning. This is the initial police theory. This is the working hypothesis,” Crown prosecutor M explained to the judge.e Matthew Ferguson during a non-jury trial in mid-October.

This evidence, however, was deemed “inadmissible” by the Crown, since it related to the “bad character” of Frank Cao. Thus, this theory has not been presented in evidence. If the issue was debated, it was only because the investigator revealed to the jury the existence of “leads” of motive during cross-examination.

“The police theory [est] that it was a botched kidnapping that could be linked to Mr. Cao’s financial difficulties and a past extortion attempt […] », Summarized Judge Catherine Perreault after hearing the parties.

Suspect in kidnapping

A few months after the murder of Tammy Lu, Frank Cao was charged in April 2021 with extortion and threats against a man. The latter was then the husband of Frank Cao’s mistress, according to his lawyer.

According to a search warrant, Frank Cao was “suspect in a kidnapping event” targeting a woman. “ [Cao] would have given a note to the victim’s spouse asking for a sum of money because otherwise his wife would die,” the warrant states.

The Crown ultimately did not offer evidence in this case which concluded in December 2021 with an “810”, an undertaking from Frank Cao not to contact the victim for a year. Let us clarify that the woman targeted in this case is not the murdered woman.

This extortion case has nothing to do with the cause of murder, Frank Cao’s lawyer argued outside the jury, in October 2023. “Mr. [Cao] had a relationship with the lady. He knew the husband. It’s completely different. In our case, there is no connection with the husband and the lady who died. It’s completely different,” said M.e Pierre L’Écuyer.

Also, the Crown prosecutor explained to Judge Perreault that Frank Cao had “enormous financial problems” in 2019 which led him to quickly sell condos. He was then the target of a civil suit which led him to repay $1.1 million.

“It can reveal financial motivations,” raised Me Ferguson, to explain the police theory.

However, for the defense, there is “no” proof of financial motive.

“If all people who have financial problems are capable of committing murder, I think we are going far. Madame is found dead with a $60,000 Rolex on her wrist. Someone with financial problems will take it and resell it,” argued Mr. L’Écuyer.

The deliberations continue on Wednesday for a third day.

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