A $18,000 mural in Vancouver’s Chinatown has been vandalized, and police say identifying the perpetrator will be difficult.

The three-storey, 223-square-metre Lao Tsu mural at East Pender and Gore streets was erected in 2010 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Chinatown.

The artwork, which depicts the Chinese historical scholar and philosopher sitting on an ox with a scroll in his arm, is now covered in large black writing.

No arrests have been made and investigators say it’s hard to support criminal charges unless the suspect is caught in the act. No 911 calls about the incident were made during the vandalism Sunday night.

Const. Brian Montague said officers are looking for any potential video evidence to aid the investigation.

“It is unfortunate that there are those that feel it is acceptable to damage property in that manner,” Const. Montague told CTV Vancouver.

“The damage is significant and it is sometimes hard to believe that no one saw anything suspicious.”

The mural is on the side of the Lee's Benevolent Association, who partnered with the City of Vancouver on the project five years ago.

“We’re [a] little bit angry and very disappointed because we spent so much money to put it up for the sake of [the] beautification of [the] Vancouver area,” President Maurice Lee said.

The association removed its surveillance cameras just last week in preparation for the construction of a building going up next door.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Vancouver police.

With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Nafeesa Karim