'Alarming, disturbing and despicable': Local Chinese community leader condemns attack on 92-year-old man
VANCOUVER -- The leader of a local Chinese community organization is condemning an alleged racially motivated attack on a senior with dementia, calling the incident "absolutely alarming, disturbing, and despicable."
Queenie Choo, the CEO of S.U.C.C.E.S.S. B.C., an organization that helps new immigrants, spoke to CTV Morning Live on Thursday about how the incident, as well as a reported increase in hate crimes, has impacted the local Chinese-Canadian community.
"This type of behaviour that's motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate absolutely has no place in our communities and in our country," she said. "It's absolutely against our Canadian values of inclusion and diversity, so this type of behaviour has to be reported and stopped."
On Wednesday, Vancouver police released photos and videos of a suspect who allegedly yelled racist remarks at a 92-year-old man who had wandered into a convenience store in East Vancouver on March 13. Some of the remarks allegedly referenced COVID-19. The altercation then continued outside the store, where the elderly man was shoved and hit his head on the ground, police said. On Thursday, police announced the suspect has now been identified.
Vancouver police said they have seen an increase in reported hate crimes with what they describe as an "anti-Asian element." So far this year, VPD said there have been nine anti-Asian hate crimes reported to police, but there were only 12 reported in all of 2019.
"I would encourage anyone who has seen or experienced those disturbing behaviours or even racial slurs or non-verbal behaviour that is close to this situation be reported to the police right away," Choo said. She believes not all of these types of incidents get reported to the police, which makes it inherently challenging for them to be investigated.
She also noted there has been a "racializing" of COVID-19 throughout the pandemic. The first outbreak of the virus was detected in Wuhan, China, which has led to some calling it the "Wuhan virus" or "China virus," a practice that has been widely condemned.
Choo urged people to report any racist incidents right away and encouraged people to come together to continue to show compassion and kindness to other British Columbians during the pandemic.
"This should not be happening," she said. "We need to focus on how to stand together to combat the virus rather than racializing the virus and being divisive among us."
To watch the full interview, click on the video attached to the top of this story.