VANCOUVER -- After an increase in racially motivated hate crimes during the novel coronavirus pandemic was noted in B.C., one provincial minister responsible for multiculturalism is speaking out.

Anne Kang is the minister of citizens' services for B.C. and moved to Canada from Taiwan. She says the increase in racially motivated physical and verbal attacks has left her "deeply saddened."

"I cannot remain silent," she said in a statement released Friday.

"I am outraged that anyone would engage in acts of discrimination, hate or violence. I am compelled as a government representative, immigrant and British Columbian to speak out against these vicious acts." 

Last week, a local graffiti removal company said it's seen an uptick in hateful, racist messages, specifically targeting people of Asian descent. The company said it usually gets calls for racist graffiti removal about once a week in Vancouver, but that's jumped to about five times a week recently. 

Vancouver police have also noticed an increase in hate crimes during the pandemic. In the first four months of the year, nine hate crimes against Asian people were recorded in the city, compared to 12 for all of last year. 

And earlier this week, transit police alerted the public to a violent assault on a Vancouver bus that happened in April. The suspect allegedly made racist remarks about two Asian women and then attacked a bystander who intervened on their behalf. 

That suspect has since been identified, and a police investigation found he died of an apparent overdose about a week after the incident. 

Kang says acts like these won't be tolerated. 

"There is absolutely no place for hate in our society," she said in her statement. 

"Now is a time to stand together and condemn these actions that seek to divide … more than ever, it is critical we are intentional about being supportive, understanding and respectful to one another. We must speak up when we witness racism."