Police Investigating ‘Completely Unprovoked’ Attack on Elder in Chinatown

May 23, 2022

VANCOUVER, British Columbia—Vancouver police are investigating an unprovoked bear spray attack on a senior in Chinatown Friday morning, May 20, which was then followed by racist comments.

“Every indication is that this incident was completely unprovoked and may have been fueled by anti-Asian hate,” stated Vancouver Police Department spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin, during a press release on Saturday.

Police released images of the suspect taken from surveillance cameras on Pender and Columbia streets where the assault occurred, according to CTV News.

Police say the 87-year-old Chinatown resident was out for his morning walk when the assault occurred around 11:40 a.m.

The victim was standing at a bus stop “when a stranger came up to him, made racist comments, then bear-sprayed him in the face,” according to Vancouver Police Department.

“Given the time of day and the location of this incident, we believe there were witnesses who have not yet come forward,” Visintin said. “We also believe there will be people who recognize the suspect and can help us identify him.”

Screenshots of the suspect. Images via VPD

There may also be a connection between the elder assault and offensive graffiti that appeared on the red gates outside Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, which isn’t far from the attack.

“The graffiti – the word ‘Shhh’ in white paint – was interpreted by many in the community as a backlash to Chinatown residents who have been increasingly speaking up about crime and safety concerns in their neighborhood,” police said.

According to CTV News, there has been a 300-percent increase in reported graffiti in Chinatown between 2019 and 2021 and a 425-percent increase in anti-Asian hate incidents. Remember, Vancouver is one of the most liberal and progressive cities in the Western hemisphere.

VPD has increased patrols in Chinatown.

“People who live and work in Chinatown deserve to feel safe, valued, and respected,” stated Visintin. “Violent and unprovoked attacks, rampant graffiti, and street disorder are appalling, and these incidents continue to erode people’s sense of safety.”

Anyone who has information about the incident or recognizes the suspect is asked to call investigators at 604-717-4034, police said.

Feature Screenshots via Vancouver Police Department

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