Surveillance camera photos show suspect in Vancouver hate crime
VANCOUVER -- Almost a month after a cultural centre was defaced in Vancouver, police released surveillance camera images in an effort to identify the suspect.
The suspect is believed by police to be tied to hateful graffiti scrawled on several windows at the Chinese Cultural Centre on April 2.
One of the centre's executives spoke to CTV News Thursday about the incident, which he called an "extreme case."
Chair Fred Kwok said racist acts have "escalated to another level" over the last three months.
The centre was in the process of removing them, but two of the messages were still visible Thursday. One said "Kill all," and another used an anti-Chinese slur, saying, "Let's put a stop to (them) coming to Canada."
Another message said, "Drive them out of Canada."
Officers say they believe the man shown in the photos released Friday walked into the courtyard of the centre during the afternoon, and wrote disturbing anti-Asian remarks on four of the windows.
Vancouver police released three photos of the suspect, whom they describe as white with a thin build.
He was wearing a black baseball cap, black jacket, black pants and grey running shoes at the time.
He was also wearing a bandana over his nose and mouth.
Anyone who recognizes the man in the photos or has more information on the incident is asked to call police or Crime Stoppers.
Calling the incident "disheartening," Const. Tania Visintin said in a news release that hate crimes won't be tolerated in Vancouver.
The most recent data provided by the Vancouver Police Department suggests an increase in reports of anti-Asian hate-related incidents and crimes since the onset of COVID-19.
A dozen incidents were reported in all of 2019, but this year, there have already been 20 in the first four months.
Fifteen hate crimes were reported in April alone, 11 of which had an anti-Asian element, the VPD says.
Among those incidents was the assault of an elderly man at an East Vancouver convenience store.
A 92-year-old man was shoved and fell to the ground after a man made anti-Asian comments regarding COVID-19 in March.
Police released surveillance videos of a suspect, who has since turned himself in.
So far, officers have not said what charges, if any, Jamie Bezanson may face.
Earlier this week, the mayor made reference to both the assault and the graffiti during an update on the city's coronavirus response.
He said the city's rise in racism was of concern, and, in an apology to victims, said, "Hate of any kind has no place in our city."
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Jon Woodward