Unprovoked attack in Vancouver’s Chinatown appears racially motivated

An unprovoked attack on an elderly man in Vancouver’s Chinatown this week may have been fueled by anti-Asian hatred, police said.

A release from Vancouver Police Department on Saturday, May 21, says the 87-year-old was attacked Friday morning in Chinatown with bear spray, calling it “another disturbing incident that appears to be racially motivated”.

“Everything indicates that this incident was completely unprovoked and may have been fueled by anti-Asian hatred,” said Officer Tania Visintin, who released a photo of the suspect taken with a CCTV camera in the area.

The victim in this case lives in Chinatown. He was taking a morning walk and standing at the bus stop near Pender and Columbia when a stranger approached him, made racist remarks, and then bear sprayed him in the face.

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

The suspect fled after the assault and has not been identified.

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The victim sought help from a nearby company, which called 9-1-1. He was traumatized by the incident but has no life-threatening injuries.

According to VPD, there was a 425% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in Chinatown between 2019 and 2021. Still, nearly two-thirds of crimes go unreported in the neighborhood, according to traffickers and residents who spoke to VPD about their concerns.

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

The suspect in this incident is a man aged 30-40 years, approximately six feet tall.

He was wearing a black jacket, dark pants, a gray baseball cap, gray shoes with red trims and white soles and was carrying a black backpack.

Anyone who recognizes the suspect or has more information is asked to call CID at 604-717-4034.

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