Strange incidents caught on camera at Chinese consulate in Vancouver; suspects sought
VANCOUVER -- Police are asking for the public's help to identify two men in a strange series of incidents caught on camera at the Chinese consulate in Vancouver.
The incidents occurred in March and early April, but police did not release surveillance video until weeks later in connection with what they're calling "two mischiefs."
In a news release Friday, the Vancouver Police Department said the first suspect was first brought to their attention after parking his dark-coloured Ford Escape in front of the consulate on March 22.
The older man's actions were captured by surveillance cameras, and video was released by police Friday of his behaviour.
He is seen approaching the front gate of the consulate, near Granville Street and West 16th Avenue, and spitting on a plaque.
Police say the plaque is dedicated to the Chinese consular general.
The man can be seen going back to his vehicle, getting a disposable coffee cup, taking a sip, then throwing an "unknown white substance" on the plaque, as police described it.
They say the same video showed the man using a hammer to hit the plaque and to try to pry it off.
The video released by police also shows what happened when an employee tried to drive away from the building.
The man can be seen stepping in front of the vehicle, holding up two small signs. Police said he "verbally berated" the driver at this time, and spat on the vehicle. The suspect was seen leaving the area in his Escape, heading north on Granville.
The man has been described as in his 70s with a thin build and white hair. On March 22, he was wearing a dark jacket, dark pants, dark shoes and a dark baseball cap.
Police said they're investigating a second incident at the consulate involving another suspect.
It is alleged he spray painted graffiti on the gate and the wall of the building at around 3 a.m. Police have not said what it was that he painted.
They said the man was seen in surveillance video walking away, north on Granville Street.
The suspect in the second incident is believed to be between the ages of 30 and 40. Police said he has a heavy build, and was wearing dark pants, a grey hooded sweater with a "Batman" logo on the chest, and dark-coloured shoes.
Police said both of these incidents appear to be motivated by hate, prejudice, or bias.
"It's definitely being investigated that way," said Const. Tania Visintin, spokesperson for the VPD.
"The hate crime element is tacked on at sentencing when we put charges through," said Visintin.
VPD Sgt. Steve Addison told CTV News the investigation is still not complete.
"We need to identify the people involved in these incidents so we can fully understand their motives and why they acted this way," Addison explained.
Anyone with information on either suspect or incident is asked to contact police.