VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A male suspect is being sought after a young Asian woman was assaulted last month at a bus stop in downtown Vancouver.
She was in the area of Granville and West Pender streets in the afternoon on April 12, when a man, unknown to her, approached her. He punched her in the face, then got on a bus to UBC with an associate.
“We are investigating this as a stranger assault and the motive is unknown,” Sgt. Aaron Roed said.
The assault appears to be unprovoked as there was no communication between the 22-year-old victim and the attacker, he added.
Roed said she is recovering and feeling better, physically.
“Emotionally, she’s going to have to deal with this assault that happened.”
Victim services have been provided.
Roed said police don’t know if the assault was race-related.
“We don’t want to speculate on the motive for this attack,” he said.
However, “For what is going on around the world right now, we’re not ruling anything out.”
Roed said the department’s diversity and hate crime section has been notified of the assault and is working with investigators with the Major Crime section.
“This is why we want to identify the attacker, so we can rule anything out and find out if this is a hate crime.”
Vancouver Police said in recent weeks the department had seen an increase in reports of anti-Asian hate-motivated incidents and criminal acts.
So far this year, the department has recorded 46 reported incidents of hate crimes across the city, compared to 35 during the same period a year ago.
In the past month, Roed said the department has recorded 11 anti-Asian hate crimes.
“This is a disgusting act, an assault on an innocent person,” Roed said of the recent assault. “We don’t want to see this type of crime happen to anybody in any community around our city or anywhere in Metro Vancouver. We’re not going to tolerate this, and if this is a hate crime, we’ll be investigating it as that.”
He added the department is seeing a trend, likely due to the pandemic, of Asian-based hate crimes.
“We are working with the community, the Chinese community, in trying to notify them that this isn’t going to be acceptable. We are investigating all acts of hate crime.”
#VPDNews: Vancouver Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspect who assaulted a young woman in downtown Vancouver the afternoon of April 12. https://t.co/tcdtcQCJsU pic.twitter.com/BECfHXEHpl
— Vancouver Police (@VancouverPD) May 5, 2020
The suspect in the April 12 incident is described as a white man in his mid-20s with a medium build. He was wearing a dark-colored T-shirt with a distinctive deer emblem on the front. He was also wearing a grey, long-sleeve shirt underneath his T-shirt and a beanie-style hat with grey and yellow stripes.
The associate is not being investigated.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the VPD Major Crime Section at 604-717-2541 or CrimeStoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.