Vancouver Police say they arrested a man on Saturday afternoon after he smashed the window of a vehicle parked in Chinatown with two Asian women inside.
“This was a random, unprovoked incident and would have been very terrifying for the victims,” says Sergeant Aaron Roed, VPD.
“It was particularly concerning for responding officers, considering the anti-Asian crime and incidents we have seen in Vancouver recently.”
VPD say the women were confronted by the suspect after they parked their car near East Pender and Columbia streets.
While they were in the car, he yelled obscenities at them and then smashed a window with a chisel he was carrying in his bag. Police were called and officers were able to locate and arrest the suspect with the help of a witness.
The man was transported to the VPD jail and released on an undertaking to appear which requires him to report to court on a future date.
Last week, Vancouver police announced a further increase in anti-Asian hate crime and hate-related incidents in Vancouver.
To date this year alone, police say they've opened 29 investigative files for anti-Asian crime. During the same period in 2019, there were four.
The VPD has initiated several measures to combat the increase, including further engagement with the Chinese community to raise awareness about how to connect with police; additional patrols on foot by police officers in Chinatown; and the placement of a public safety trailer, with cameras, in Chinatown and two other locations in the city.
Earlier this week, Vandals defaced both lions at the foot of the Millennium Gate in Vancouver's Chinatown with racist graffiti.
Premier John Horgan released a statement regarding a surge in racist activity across British Columbia during the COVID-19 pandemic on Victoria Day.
Horgan remarks that, “Everyone has a right to live without fear of violence or discrimination. Yet we are hearing disturbing stories of a rise in anti-Asian racist behaviour since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic."
Horgan adds that people are being targeted as they go about their daily lives, and that the behaviour is unacceptable.
The statement came after Vancouver Police responded to a racist assault in East Vancouver. According to the victim, a man punched her in the face and shouted a slew of racial insults after she sneezed. He also told her to, "Go back to Asia." The victim is Indigenous.
The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs shared a post on Twitter condemning the racist assault and calling on government to step up its efforts to prevent further violence.
Since hate crime is often under-reported, police are also working to reduce barriers that may exist for reporting. For example, the VPD is developing a system that will allow victims to report non-emergency incidents in Chinese.
Police are asking residents to report suspicious activity by calling 9-1-1.