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'I don't know if they realize what they've done': Police investigating unusual case of vandalism at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden

The group were dressed as clowns.

A wall at Vancouver's famed Dr. Sun Yat-Sen gardens was splashed with what appears to be fake blood, but the reason is unclear.

The garden's executive director, Lorraine Lowe, says the incident happened in broad daylight on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 11, while people walked past and volunteers worked at the site.

Many individuals saw the group, including Lowe herself, which involved six young people with clown wigs who appeared to be shooting a video.

"If you're going to do some vandalism, you should be more discreet," Lowe says.

It appears the group used equipment to spray fake blood, including on walls enclosing the garden in Chinatown. While Dr. Sun Yat-Sen garden and Chinatown have struggled with vandalism in the past, Lowe says this incident is unusual.

"Are they ignorant? Was it intentional?" Lowe wonders. "It's something that can't be taken lightly."

She's not sure if the fake blood and clowns were part of a political statement, a school project, a viral trend, or something else.

The group appeared to record what they were doing with cameras on tripods she says, and used equipment to spray the walls. The spray equipment was left on the ground afterwards.

Witnesses told Lowe it appears the group wasn't from East Vancouver either, and drove away shortly after.

"I don't know if they realize what they've done," says Lowe, explaining that they may not have known the significance of the site. That doesn't mean the incident isn't important, she adds, and says there needs to be consequences for acts of mischief such as this.

"I don't think they really understand the severity and the impact this has triggered," she says, noting the garden is symbolic and an important cultural site.

The Vancouver Police Department has confirmed with V.I.A. the incident is being investigated.

"I think there's good evidence here to figure out who the culprits are," noting witnesses took photos.

Community days

The vandalism came a day before the garden hosted one of its community day events, Lowe adds. Luckily the fake blood was cleaned up before hand.

The community days happen four times a year, explains Lowe, giving locals a chance to explore the garden for free with vendors, performances and other activities on site. The goal is to encourage people to explore the historic community and engage with the culture.

The next community days are July 9, Oct. 8, and Dec. 2 and 3.