Former Toronto hotel chef charged in sale of substance used for suicide

May 3 2023, 3:17 pm

Editor’s note: This article discusses topics of self-harm.

A former chef in a prominent Toronto hotel has been arrested and charged after an investigation into online sales and distribution of sodium nitrite, a legal food additive that is also used as a suicide method in higher doses.

Peel Regional Police announced 57-year-old Kenneth Law of Mississauga — who was formerly employed at the prestigious Royal York Hotel in Toronto — has been charged with two counts of counselling or aiding suicide related to an online business where Law has admitted to selling sodium nitrite.

The investigation has been ongoing since March 31, when officers from the 11 Division Criminal Investigations Bureau began looking into a sudden death in which police suspect that sodium nitrite was involved.

Police allege that the suspect distributed and marketed the substance to individuals at risk of self-harm. Law is believed to have shipped sodium nitrite to countries around the world, and his shipments have been linked to at least five deaths in the US and UK, and two in Peel Region.

In an undercover investigation, The Times of London reported in April that Law had admitted to selling the substance and boasted about how many of his customers had successfully committed suicide.

The white, crystalline substance is sold legally as a food additive commonly used in processed meats, and there is nothing inherently illegal about selling it.

Law is instead being charged for his alleged counselling of victims to use the substance at lethal doses. He is currently in custody awaiting a bail hearing at the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton.

When consumed in such doses, sodium nitrite can reduce oxygen levels and impair breathing, often resulting in death.

Police warn the public that the substance was sold under brand names Imtime Cuisine, AmbuCA, Academic/ACademic, Escape Mode/ escMode, and ICemac.

If you or someone you know might be going through a difficult time, there are resources available. You can call Talk Suicide Canada at 1-833-456-4566 or Toronto Distress Centres at 416-408-4357.

Jack LandauJack Landau

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