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Long-time Chinatown security guard 'still traumatized' after random attack; grateful for community support


A well-known security guard in Vancouver’s Chinatown who was attacked by a stranger while on the job said Sunday he’s grateful for the outpouring of support he’s received.

Harold Johnson is still recovering from his injuries after being assaulted on Aug. 12th in the community he’s patrolled for two decades. Bruising could be seen under both of the 64 year-old’s eyes as he stopped by the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese garden on Sunday.

“I’m still traumatized, but I’m going to come back to work,” he said. “I’m not giving up right away.”

Johnson was taking a picture near East Pender and Columbia streets just before the assault.

“He heard the the camera click,” Johnson said. “He dropped his bike. He started swinging and he kicked me twice in the face.”

Vancouver Police said the assault took place around 11 a.m., and added bystanders intervened, and witnesses called 911. A suspect was later arrested in Gastown.

Forty-four year-old Kevin Aaron Hibbard has been charged with assault.


Johnson said he’s seen the area change, from a place he described as peaceful, to one in increasing turmoil. He and his wife Brandy, who is also a local shop owner, think he may have been targeted because of his job.

“I told him as he was going out the door, Watch your back, I have a feeling something’s going to happen,'” Brandy said, adding she was just arriving at her Keefer street store when she got the call.

“My heart was beating and of course rushed down to where he was…he was in a lot of pain, I could see that.”

Lorraine Lowe, executive director of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, said they have started an online fundraiser to support Johnson, who had been planning to retire next year.

“Harold’s a part of our family. He’s just an institution. So an attack on Harold is an attack on Chinatown,” she said. “I think what happened to Harold should be a wake-up call for everybody to stop ignoring the fact that there is a serious public safety issue here in Vancouver, not just in Chinatown, but downtown Vancouver.”

Brandy said she has also seen the area decline.

“The merchants are going to come back, and we’re taking it back,” she said. “This is our community.”

Johnson also shared his gratitude for everyone who has reached out with support.

“I want to thank all my merchants, my clients, my friends, my wife for supporting me,” he said.

“That’s all I want to say.” Top Stories

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