Kelowna RCMP say they have identified a suspect in racist incident on city bus

·2 min read
In a video circulating on social media, the suspect, right, assaulted a passenger before getting off the bus. (Marie Wiggins/Facebook - image credit)
In a video circulating on social media, the suspect, right, assaulted a passenger before getting off the bus. (Marie Wiggins/Facebook - image credit)

Mounties in Kelowna, B.C., say they have identified the suspect in a racist incident that happened on public transit on Halloween.

RCMP in the Central Okanagan city said they received a report from B.C. Transit about a man making racist remarks to a group of female passengers.

Video of the incident — which has been circulating on social media since Sunday — shows a male bus passenger in black clothing, going blah, blah, blah, blah to mimic the women's speech, telling them to shut up and calling them "terrorists."

"It's not a Hindu country — people are speaking English," he says in the video before getting into a fight, as he's exiting the bus, with a male passenger who comes to the women's defence.

Kelowna RCMP Insp. Adam MacIntosh acknowledged the video and denounced the incident at a news conference on Tuesday.

"There should be no place for racism in this country. Canada is built on a framework of diversity where, with the exception of our Indigenous peoples, we all originate from outside of Canada," he said.

"What makes Canada what it is, is our ability to take that diversity and come together collectively as one, as Canadians, and we need to uphold those values."

Winston Szeto/CBC
Winston Szeto/CBC

MacIntosh also noted a Korean restaurant was vandalized with antisemitic and anti-Asian graffiti on Oct. 30.

Kelowna-based journalist Paula Tran — who was born in Montreal to Vietnamese parents and raised in Taiwan before moving back to Canada — says she feels that racism has been on the rise since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"My day-to-day interaction with people has definitely gotten a bit more tense in the past year, especially since I am very visibly Asian," Tran said Wednesday to host Chris Walker on CBC's Daybreak South.

She also praises those bus passengers for standing up for the victims, an act that police are also encouraging.

"Speak up. Don't allow this to continue," MacIntosh said. "When you allow this to continue, you're just helping to further these individuals' ability to do these things, and we just simply need to look at it to stop."

The RCMP say they want to speak to all the people involved in the racist incident on the bus, as well as witnesses.

They are asking anyone with any information to call them at 250-762-3300 or, to remain anonymous, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or www.crimestoppers.net.

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