Man arrested following another anti-Asian racist attack in Vancouver

A man yelled obscenities and smashed the window of car, terrifying two Asian women in the car.

A man was arrested Saturday after the window of a vehicle parked in Vancouver’s Chinatown was smashed, terrifying two Asian women inside the car.

It’s the latest in a rash of apparent pandemic-related hate crimes against Asian people in the city.

“This was a random, unprovoked incident and would have been very terrifying for the victims,” said Vancouver police spokesperson Sgt. Aaron Roed.

Roed said the women were confronted after they parked their car near East Pender and Columbia streets. The women were not harmed physically, but Roed said they were traumatized.

As they sat in the car, police allege, the assailant yelled obscenities at them and then smashed a window with a chisel he was carrying in his bag.

Police arrested a man with the help of a witness. The man was transported to VPD cells and released on a promise to appear in court.

The investigation continues, and police are asking that anyone with CCTV footage, or surveillance of this incident to call police.

At a news briefing Tuesday, Roed said there has been an increase in apparent hate crimes over the past few weeks compared with last year, and it is related to the global pandemic.

“We don’t want to speculate on how many more might be happening, but we do believe that there is an issue out there, and this needs to be dealt with,” he said.

The situation is “very serious” and victims are being asked to call police if they have experienced racist attacks, added Roed.

The VPD said last week that police are investigating 29 cases since mid-March, when B.C. declared an emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That compares to four anti-Asian attacks during the same time period last year.

Howard Chow, a VPD deputy chief constable, says that in addition to the assaults that have been reported, hateful graffiti on landmarks with cultural significance in Chinatown is “hurtful and disturbing” and says “hate spreads like a virus.”

The VPD is looking into at least 77 apparent hate-associated cases, up from 51 at the same time in 2019.

There have been a number of brutal attacks against Asian people in Vancouver, including an attack on an elderly man.

In the March 13 incident, the 92-year-old man, who suffers from severe dementia, wandered into a convenience store near Nanaimo Street and East 1st Avenue. Staff at the convenience store were trying to assist the man, when another man began yelling racist remarks at the victim that included comments about COVID-19. Outside the store, police allege, the attacker shoved the man, which caused him to fall to the ground and hit his head. The attacker left before police arrived.

No charges have yet been laid in any of this year’s alleged hate crime attacks.