Unprovoked attacks: 2 Asian women assaulted in 2 days in Vancouver
VANCOUVER -- Police are investigating after two East Asian women were assaulted in downtown Vancouver in two days.
Officers say a woman walking on Granville Street near Helmcken Street Wednesday afternoon was approached by a man she didn't know.
It was reported that the man punched her in the nose, and the woman fell to the ground.
“I was in the store and I heard screaming and crying,” said Jared Miller, who works at 8th and Main clothing store on Granville Street.
When Miller went outside, she saw the woman on the ground crying with a bloodied nose.
When he heard that she was assaulted, he took them inside the store for refuge.
“I just wanted to create a safe space for them, being out in public after that happened is really hard to do,” he said. “It was shocking to see without the context, I think later with the context it was more shocking to know what happened.”
Once the victim got into the store, she called police for help.
The suspect is described as a white man between the ages of 20 and 30, and about 6' tall.
The man has a thin build and short hair, and was wearing a red and yellow T-shirt, dark pants and sneakers at the time of the assault.
The next day, another woman reported being assaulted.
She told police she'd been walking to an Evo car share vehicle parked near West Georgia Street and Citadel Parade when a man spat on her face.
The man was walking past her at the time, and continued on his way.
“No one deserves this,” Const. Tania Visintin said at a news conference. “There’s nothing that could ever provoke this type of disgusting assault. Thankfully with this spitting, the silver lining is we do have DNA, so hopefully that’ll help the investigation along.”
The suspect in that case has been descried as 5'5" or 5'6", with dark brown, shoulder-length hair. At the time of the incident, he was wearing dark, baggy clothing.
"What concerns us most about these files is how completely random both assaults were," Visintin said.
"Evidence indicates the victim and suspect have no relation to each other in both cases."
Police ask anyone with more information to contact them or Crime Stoppers.
Queenie Choo, CEO of SUCCESS, a non-profit helping newcomers, said the two recent incidents are causing anxiety within the community.
“These incidents certainly created a lot of insecurity and uneasy feeling because people might feel safe unsafe going out to the public area,” Choo said.
She encourages victims and bystanders to continue reporting these types of crimes.
The news comes a little over a week after Vancouver police released their latest crime data, which suggested an alarming spike in hate crimes, particularly those against victims of Asian descent.
Anti-Asian hate crime incidents were up 878 per cent over the same period in the previous year, the report presented to Vancouver's police board said.
And hate crime overall is up 116 per cent this year, according to that report, which compared the first nine months of 2020 to last year.
At the time, Deputy Chief Const. Howard Chow called the data "really concerning," and said that officers had noticed the trend "right away" when they started tracking hate crimes closely in the spring.
The incidents ranged from racial slurs to the attack of an elderly man.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Alyse Kotyk