'White supremacists' charged in Vancouver hate crimes
- Robertson de Chazal was cleared in relation to the criminal allegations
Two B.C. men who police say belong to an international white supremacist group are facing charges for a series of alleged hate crimes, including lighting a sleeping Filipino man on fire.
RCMP said Robertson de Chazal and Shawn MacDonald have been charged in connection with four attacks, which occurred around Metro Vancouver between 2008 and 2010.
In one of the attacks, a Filipino man was set on fire as he slept on a couch on Commercial Drive in East Vancouver in October 2009. The 26-year-old victim from New Westminster, B.C., had been out drinking when he saw a couch on the sidewalk and decided to go to sleep.
Witnesses reported seeing three men standing over the sleeping man and spraying some type of fluid, believed to be lighter fluid or a similar accelerant, on the victim before lighting him on fire, police said at the time.
The other attacks allegedly targeted a black man, a Hispanic man and an aboriginal woman, police said on Friday.
De Chazal, 25, has been charged with aggravated assault in the attack on the Filipino man and assault in the incident involving the black man.
MacDonald has been charged with three counts of assault in connection with the attacks on the black man, the Hispanic man and the aboriginal woman.
The third man, who has not been named by police, has yet to be charged. Police say all three belong to an internationally recognized hate group known as Blood and Honour.
RCMP Cpl. Normanie Levas said police believe only a small percentage of hate crimes are reported and they want to encourage the public to report such crimes.
"We take these crimes seriously and those responsible will be held accountable for their actions... and we will ensure the victims of these crimes will be supported," said Levas.
Section 718.2 (a) of the Criminal Code of Canada says during sentencing judges must consider if a crime was motivated by hate based on the victim's race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or any other similar factor.