British Columbia

Urinating on Komagata Maru Memorial leads to no charges

A man who was photographed urinating on the Komagata Maru Memorial has been identified by police but will not be facing any criminal charges.

Man was photographed peeing on memorial in Vancouver's Coal Harbour

Komagata Maru memorial defaced

8 years ago
Duration 2:14
A witness photographed a man urinating on the Vancouver memorial

A man who was photographed urinating on the Komagata Maru Memorial has been identified by police but will not be facing any criminal charges.

Sgt. Randy Finchman says police have spoken to the man, but decided not to lay charges.

"In laying a charge, investigators would need to establish that a criminal offence took place, laying a charge was in the public interest and that there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction."

"In this case, it was determined that all three criteria had not been established," said Finchman in the statement release on Tuesday morning.

Instead the man was advised his action was inappropriate. 

"The man has been made aware of the cultural significance of the memorial and that his alleged activity in and around the memorial was inappropriate and insensitive to the South Asian community."

Memorial erected in 2012

On May 23, 1914, the Japanese charter ship Komagata Maru arrived in Vancouver harbour with 376 immigrants from India. Canadian immigration officials refused to let the passengers disembark, using the continuous journey regulation which required migrants to arrive in Canada directly from their country of origin.

The ship was forced to anchor in the harbour, where it stayed for two months before finally returning to Calcutta, with all but 22 of the original passengers aboard. A riot broke out upon the ship's return to India, in which 20 passengers were killed.

The memorial was erected in 2012 in Vancouver's Coal Harbour. In 2008 B.C. apologized formally for the incident.

For Sharn Sandhra with the Centre for Indo Canadian Studies in Abbotsford, who is organizing a year-long exhibit dedicated to the Komagata Maru, education is the best way to change ignorant attitudes.

"A lot of people don’t know how much these men and two women that were onboard that ship suffered -- the emotional suffering that existed at that time,  in terms of anti-Asian sentiment, not just against Indians but Chinese and Japanese as well."


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