An unprovoked attack on an elderly man in Vancouver’s Chinatown this week may have been fueled by anti-Asian hate, according to police.
A release from Vancouver Police on Saturday, May 21 says that 87-year-old was attack with bear spray in Chinatown on Friday morning, calling it “another troubling incident that appears to be racially motivated.”
“Every indication is that this incident was completely unprovoked and may have been fueled by anti-Asian hate,” says Constable Tania Visintin, who released an image of the suspect taken from a CCTV camera in the area.
#VPDNews: Vancouver Police are investigating after a senior was attacked with bear spray in Chinatown Friday morning – another troubling incident that appears to be racially motivated.
— Vancouver Police (@VancouverPD) May 21, 2022
The victim in this case lives in Chinatown. He was out for a morning walk and was standing at bus stop near Pender and Columbia when a stranger came up to him, made racist comments and then bear-sprayed him in the face.
“Given the time of day and the location of this incident, we believe there were witnesses who have not yet come forward. We also believe there will be people who recognize the suspect and can help us identify him.”
The suspect took off after the assault and has not been identified.
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The victim sought help from a nearby business, which called 9-1-1. He was traumatized by the incident, but has non life-threatening injuries.
According to VPD, there was a 425% increase in anti-Asian hate crime incidents in Chinatown between 2019 and 2021. Still, nearly two thirds of crimes go unreported in the neighbourhood, according to merchants and residents who have spoken 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 erode peoples’ sense of safety.”
The suspect in this incident is a man, 30-40-years old, who is about 6 feet tall.
He was wearing a black jacket, dark-coloured pants, a grey baseball cap, grey shoes with red trim and white soles and was carrying a black backpack.
Anyone who recognizes the suspect or has more information is asked to call investigators at 604-717-4034.