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‘Hate has no place in Richmond’

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 10:46 PDT, Thu April 15, 2021

Last Updated: 2:13 PDT, Wed May 12, 2021

Recent incidents suggest a possible growing trend of racially-motivated incidents in Richmond, according to local police.

“Hate has no place in our community. I want to reassure the public that any investigation with potential hate motivated undertones will be given our fullest attention and oversight,” said Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng.

Police received seven reports of incidents involving apparent racial undertones in March, with three of these still under investigation as hate crimes. They involve allegations that hate is a motivating factor during the commission of criminal offences. The RCMP says that the victims are of various ethnicities.

One incident involved allegations of an anti-Semitic text exchange between students at a local school, and is being dealt with under the guidelines of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The second incident involved allegations of racial slurs and an assault of an Asian café manager. An arrest was made, and the matter is still under investigation. The third incident involved allegations of a man allegedly yelling racial slurs before crossing a street to punch a South Asian man who was sitting at a bus stop. A suspect has not yet been identified in what is believed to have been a random attack.

“There are specific hate offences in the Criminal Code which include promoting genocide and inciting hatred, which includes the distribution of hate propaganda, but most of the incidents being reported to police are not hate crimes,” said Cpl. Ian Henderson. “When a person makes a racist, homophobic or other abhorrent comment at a stranger, it is not a criminal offence, and typically police are unable to pursue a criminal investigation much further.”

Last summer, Richmond RCMP updated its guidelines for hate crime and hate incident investigations, and all frontline officers received training to ensure adherence to these updated guidelines. 

Over the past year, Richmond RCMP has also engaged a number of initiatives aimed at promoting inclusion and tolerance while encouraging victims of hate motivated incidents to speak out. These include the creation of the Diversity Unit, which works with various community partners to recognize the cultural diversity of our City while promoting acceptance, inclusion and tolerance. As part of the Richmond RCMP Community Engagement team, the Diversity Unit has access to a variety of resources including Victim Services, Block Watch and other volunteer programs, which play an important role in victim resilience and recovery.

In collaboration with the City of Richmond, Richmond RCMP also launched a “Hate has no place” poster campaign which encourages victims to call police.

“In order for police to deal effectively with hate crimes and hate incidents, we need to know when they happen,” said Henderson. “We also need people to call us before posting video of hate crimes or hate incidents on line.”

In addition to a fulsome criminal investigation into all allegations involving racial undertones, Richmond RCMP is taking the additional step of reviewing each case to determine whether mental health factors may be involved.

“By factoring in a mental health consideration, and by consulting with our local partners in the mental health field, we are opening the door to additional avenues and resources aimed at preventing further racially motivated incidents from occurring in our community,” said Henderson.

Vancouver Coastal Health is also encouraging people to reach out for mental health services. Anyone of any age can call 604-204-1111 to connect with the VCH mental health teams that support children, youth, adults and older adults in Richmond. People can also look through VCH program listings at vch.ca/richmondmentalhealth.

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