British Columbia

Vancouver's Chinese Cultural Centre defaced with 'hateful' graffiti: police

Vancouver police are asking for help in identifying a male suspect after someone walked into the courtyard of the Chinese Cultural Centre on Columbia Street and defaced several large windows with what officers call "hateful" graffiti.

Investigators seeking suspect captured on camera wearing mask and carrying blue bag

Police released photos of a man they are looking for after several large windows at the Chinese Cultural Centre were sprayed with what they describe as 'hateful' graffiti on April 2. (Vancouver Police Department)

Vancouver police are asking for help in identifying a male suspect after someone defaced several large windows of the Chinese Cultural Centre with what officers called "hateful" graffiti.

The suspect walked into the courtyard of the centre on Columbia Street on April 2 and wrote "disturbing, racist remarks toward the Asian community on four large glass windows," according to a release Friday.

Const. Tania Visintin said incidents like this are happening more often in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. She described them as "disheartening."

"Our department takes crimes with such hate attached extremely seriously," she said. "We will not tolerate this in our city."

The suspect is described as white with a thin build and wearing a black jacket, black pants and grey running shoes.

Police say he was also wearing a black baseball cap with writing on the front and had a black and white bandana covering his nose and mouth.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact investigators at 604-717-2773 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

More images of the suspect released by police. Officers say the graffiti is part of a rise in racist incidents related to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Vancouver Police Department.)

Rise in anti-Asian incidents, crimes

Chinese Cultural Centre board chair Fred Kwok said the anti-Chinese remarks are disturbing, especially because they were written on the centre's windows.

"The Chinese Cultural Centre is more like an icon in Chinatown. They put it here for a purpose," he said. "The reason they write all this on it is to put fear into people's hearts, into people's minds."

Fred Kwok, Chinese Cultural Centre board chair, stands on Friday in front of windows that were defaced with anti-Chinese sentiments related to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Vancouver police say there has been an increase in reports of "anti-Asian hate-motivated incidents and criminal acts."

Fifteen crimes involving hate were reported to police in April; 11 of those were anti-Asian.

Since the start of the year there have been 20 anti-Asian hate crimes reported to police. Officers say there were 12 total in 2019.

A broken window at the Vancouver Chinese Cultural Centre on May 1, 2020. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Please speak out: MP Jenny Kwan

The NDP critic for immigration, MP Jenny Kwan, is asking victims of hate crimes or racism to report them so that authorities and the province get a better understanding of the scope of the problem.

She said in a news release she warned the province in February that people would blame the pandemic on Asian-Canadians.

"The government needs to fight the disease," she said. "They also need to address the rising racism people are experiencing."

Police have installed a surveillance machine with multiple cameras on a pole to monitor for hate crimes in Vancouver's Chinatown. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

On Thursday, Premier John Horgan said over social media that racially-motivated crimes in the province are "unacceptable."

He asked for people in B.C. to stand up against racism and hate.