Police in Calgary have opened a hate-crime investigation into graffiti sprayed on the wall of a Chinese Consulate building.
Three suspects wearing masks and black clothing were caught on video spray painting vulgar messages referencing COVID-19 early Wednesday morning.
Investigators are releasing photos of the suspects in the hopes of identifying them.
Police say it’s the second time in a little more than a week that the downtown building has been vandalized.
But the message sprayed on the sidewalk outside on May 19 made no reference to the novel coronavirus.
Police note there has been a worldwide increase in hate crimes against the Chinese community and people of Asian descent who have been scapegoated during the pandemic.
“The pandemic has led to a lot of political debate and strong views, and people are obviously free to hold whatever view they wish,” said Const. Craig Collins, the service’s hate-crimes co-ordinator.
“But when people are targeting others for ill treatment or committing crimes because of those views, we have a duty to get involved.”
Collins said Calgary saw some racist incidents early-on in the pandemic, but has not seen the same spike other cities have.
“We are hearing from the Chinese community that they are concerned about growing hostility, so we are monitoring it closely.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on May 27, 2020