A Chinese-Australian family's home has been targeted by vandals for two nights in a row, leaving their garage covered in racist graffiti about the coronavirus pandemic, and one of their windows smashed with a large rock.
- The incidents happened on Monday and Tuesday morning in Knoxfield
- One of the occupants said they were "afraid these people will come back"
- It's the latest in a series of apparently racially-motivated attacks
"COVID-19 China die" was spray-painted on the garage door of the family's home on Monday morning in Knoxfield, a suburb in Melbourne's east.
Then on Tuesday morning at around 2:30am, someone smashed one of their windows with a large rock.
Resident Jackson, who requested not to disclose his surname, said he reported the two consecutive nights of vandalism to police.
"I'm just scared. I'm busy buying CCTV systems, repairing glass and buying lamps," Jackson said.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews condemned the vandalism as "awful behaviour".
"There's no place in our Victorian community for that sort of conduct. It's just evil," he said during a media briefing today.
"At a time when we should be coming together and supporting each other, it needs to be called out for what it is. It's just appalling, absolutely appalling.
"And it won't help us save lives, it won't help us save jobs, it's not only the wrong thing to do, it's just not smart either.
"We need to be close, we're all keeping our distance, and that's very important, but we also need to acknowledge that we are in this together."
A Victoria Police spokesperson said police were investigating two incidents of criminal damage, and that it would be "inappropriate to comment further at this stage".
Camera footage supplied by Jackson showed a person loitering outside the property on Tuesday morning.
In another clip captured a few minutes later, a loud crash can be heard, before a person is seen running through the driveway and jumping over the fence.
A Chinese-Australian online neighbourhood watch group, SOS-AUS, has alerted its members in Victoria to the incident, and encouraged residents to remain vigilant.
Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge also took to Twitter to condemn the vandalism.
"No family should have to put up with this. No racism is ever acceptable in our great multicultural nation."
The attack is the latest in a series of apparently racially-motivated incidents in Victoria during the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the weekend, a Geelong doctor was subjected to racist abuse while waiting in line at a takeaway restaurant.
Last week, two female international students were allegedly assaulted by two other women in Melbourne's CBD.
Speaking on Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison hit out against those who were targeting Chinese-Australians, saying "now is a time to support each other".
Mr Morrison said Chinese-Australians provided one of the "greatest defences" for the wider public during the earliest stages of the pandemic.
"They were the ones who first went into self-isolation, they were the ones who were returning from family visits up into China … It was through their care, it was through their commitment, their patience that actually Australia was protected in the first wave," he said.
"So absolutely I deplore that sort of behaviour against any Australian regardless of their ethnicity or their religion or whatever it happens to be."