By Hamida Ghafour
It was the weekend and like most students his age, Allen Ho was looking to have a good time with his friends. But something went wrong.
Saturday night, which started at a rave, ended with the third-year bachelor of commerce student dying after an apparent drug overdose. He was less than two weeks short of his 21st birthday.
“He’s not the type of kid who would drink or do drugs. This was an accident. He was just curious,” he aunt, Nesaba, said. “He just wanted a good education and somehow have a decent living.”
Ho’s family immigrated from China when he was two years old because his parents wanted a better life for their children, said his aunt. Ho was majoring in business information stems at Ryerson.
“He has two brothers who love him very much,” Nesaba said. “He’s a kid with a good heart. We’re just going to miss him very much.”
Ho’s international trade professor Tom McKaig was shocked by the death.
“It just breaks my heart,” he said. “The semester was young. He was a mighty normal guy. I thought the group h was in and the class had a good dynamic. This hit me like a ton of bricks.”
At around 3:30 a.m. Sunday, police were called to an underground parking garage at 501 Alliance Ave., in the Jane Street and St. Clair Avenue West area, where the rave was taking place.
They found the Scarborough resident collapsed inside the garage, which police described as “filthy” with “minimal lighting or washroom facilities.”
Ho was rushed to Humber Memorial Hospital, where he died Sunday evening.
“We suspect it’s some kind of methamphetamine, maybe crystal meth, maybe LSD, maybe a combination of all,” said Detective Jerry Kocher of 12 Division Criminal Investigation Bureau, 200 Trethewey Drive. Police wouldn’t release the results of the autopsy.
Police said about 3,500 tickets sold. Tickets were $25 each. The garage is about 68,000 square feet, which would have been over-crowded with that many people.
George Abony, who leases space in the building — which is a storage facility surrounded by a school in a residential neighbourhood — said he hadn’t heard about the death. He said the garage had lots of fresh air and lots of washrooms. “It’s a safe area,” he said.
But an Eyeopener reporter who went to the garage found the ramshackle building had low ceilings, no ventilation and filthy floors.
Abony said this is only the second time he’s leased out the property for a rave — the first time being the weekend before. The first wave was without incident.
The rave was put on by Hullabaloo, a Toronto-based company that organizes raves every other month. The online message board for Hullabaloo was buzzing over the weekend before organizers shut it down Monday because of the heavy media scrutiny of the company. One organizer, who only identified himself as “Klubmasta Will,” wrote: “You CANNOT blame the promoter for something like this… the person who died was 21 years old. He made the conscious decision to break the rules by ingesting drugs at the party and he paid for this mistake with his life. This could have easily happened at ANY party, ANY club…”
Greg Araujo, a third-year business student, said the rave scene used to be laid back and friendly.
“But it’s getting mainstream,” he said. “People who don’t know what the scene is about bump into you and they’re like ‘what’s your problem?'”
Yesterday, the business school was buzzing with talk of the death. And many were saying Toronto’s rave scene is changing — for the worse.
Several party-goers were later attacked at the rave by several gangs in three separate robberies. There were also reports of cars getting broken into.