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Toronto woman randomly stabbed in back with needle while waiting at crosswalk

A Toronto woman is warning everyone to be careful while out and about in the city this holiday season after being stabbed in the back with a needle while waiting for the lights to change at a major downtown intersection.

Junlan Li, 29, says she was standing at the corner of Yonge and College Streets around 3:15 p.m. on Sunday when she felt a sharp poke in her back.

Another pedestrian quickly approached the young professional and asked her if she was okay, informing Li that she'd been stabbed with a needle. The suspect, at that point, had fled.

"I didn't see anything at all and I have no idea why I was targeted," Li tells blogTO. "I was just standing on a street corner minding my own business, waiting for the light to change."

Worried that someone might have covertly robbed her, Li checked her pockets and wallet to find nothing missing, so she went about her way.

A short time later, she felt her back swelling up and went to a local hospital. It was there, after waiting for three hours in the ER and still on hold with the Toronto Police Service's non-emergency line, that she took to Reddit to warn others about what had happened.

"Since it was a random attack, I doubt I'm the only one," she wrote on the r/toronto subreddit, noting that she was "fine, just bored and very uncomfortable."

Li was sent home after getting some bloodwork done. Doctors told her she'd have 72 hours to get a PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) shot to reduce her chances of contracting HIV if the infectious diseases clinic determined it was necessary.

Toronto Police confirmed to blogTO on Monday that the incident in question occurred on Sun. Dec. 4, at approximately 3:15pm.

"Investigators are still investigating and reviewing footage," said TPS media relations officer Const. Cindy Chung.

"This is not a common incident. If this does happen to someone, I would recommend that they report the incident to the police and follow up with the hospital and complete any testing recommended to ensure their health and safety."

Li still has no idea why she was targeted, or if anyone else in the area was similarly stabbed.

"I'm just a young professional working and living downtown... I have no idea why [it happened]," she told blogTO when asked about the attack.

"I hope your audience is mindful and careful, and if you think you were witness to a crime, leave your name with the suspected victim!"

Lead photo by

Anthony Hutchinson


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