A student from the University of British Columbia says she was attacked and robbed by four teenagers on a bus in Vancouver Friday night and no one stepped in to help her.
The 24-year-old woman, who CBC News has agreed not to name because she fears for her safety, said the incident happened on her bus ride home from work at around 10:30 p.m.
The ride was uneventful until a group of two boys and two girls boarded and sat in front of her. When the bus approached downtown, the student said the group pulled out a bottle of vodka and they started vaping.
The situation escalated when she asked them to stop.
"I told them, in a nicer way, saying 'it's illegal to drink alcohol and vape on the bus,'" she said.
The group told her they were drinking water, not alcohol, and they began arguing and the driver called police. When the bus neared Seymour Street and Pender Street, the group of teens tried to run away, the woman said.
They became violent when she tried to stop them.
"The girl who was planning to escape through the back door approached me and started beating me with her fists," she said.
"And then the other three people ... are beating me, [the] back of my head, and pulling out my hair, and kicking me and started dragging me from the front of the bus to almost the back door."
Teens arrested, charges recommended
Although there were few passengers left on the bus, no one, including the driver, stepped in to help her, the student said.
The teens, who she estimates were between 15 and 17 years old, eventually took off with her backpack containing her laptop, wallet and phone.
Metro Vancouver Transit Police confirm they were notified about the incident and say the four teens were arrested for robbery a short time later at the Commercial-Broadway SkyTrain station.
The teens were released from custody and "into the care of their guardians," Transit Police spokesman Michael Yake said in an email.
"The youth were arrested for robbery and charges will be recommended," he said.
"At this point in the investigation, there is nothing to indicate that the alleged assault is racially-motivated."
The student says she went to the doctor after the attack and is recovering from bruises and scrapes.
She said she's disappointed and frustrated that no one helped her as the attack was happening. As an immigrant from South Korea, she said the incident changed her perceptions of safety in Canada.
She said she wonders whether the assault would have happened if she was white.
"I thought just at least one passenger could help me," she said.
"Once I heard that they were released ... I don't feel I'm safe here."