Hollywood actor, wife flee into Canada, seek asylum

By Gurmukh Singh, IANS
Friday, October 22, 2010

TORONTO - Hollywood actor Randy Quaid and his wife Evi, who are on the run from law in the US, have sought refugee status in Canada.

Oscar-nominated actor, who is known for his roles in films like Independence Day and The Last Detail, and his wife face arrest warrants for staying illegally in the guest house of a property in Santa Barbara which they once owned.

They face burglary charges for staying without permission of the current owner to whom they sold it in 2007.

Arrest warrants against the couple were issued October 18 for not showing up in court in the US.

The Hollywood couple, who came to Vancouver Oct 17, were arrested by the city police Thursday on outstanding warrants.

Appearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board Friday, the couple sought refugee status in Canada on grounds of their mistreatment by the justice system in the US.

The actor told the refugee board that he has had eight close friends murdered in recent years and they could be the next target.

“I feel safe here,” the local daily Vancouver Sun quoted Quaid’s wife as telling the refugee board.

But the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) argued for continued detention of the couple.

“Both are fugitives from justice,” a CBSA representative told the refugee board.

However, the couple promised to appear at any future hearings if they are released.

“I would not do anything to besmirch my reputation any further than it has been. I’m trying to do damage control,” the paper quoted the actor as saying.

His wife also said that they would not disappear if they are released. “I say it in front of the world press,” she was quoted as saying.

Thousands of Americans law breakers have sought refuge in Canada over the years. During the Vietnam war, about 125,000 American draft dodgers crossed over into Canada. They have made the town of Nelson in British Columbia very famous because of their presence.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at gurmukh.s@ians.in)

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