One year after a Vancouver cultural institution was defaced with racist remarks, a suspect has been identified—and police need the public’s assistance in locating him.
During the first few months of the pandemic, a male suspect wrote racist remarks on four glass windows of the Chinese Cultural Centre in Vancouver’s Chinatown in the afternoon of April 2, 2020.
On May 1, 2020, the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) released surveillance images of the suspect.
After a year-long investigation, the VPD stated today (April 7) that 47-year-old Yves Castonguay was charged with one count of public incitement of hatred and one count of mischief to property.
VPD spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin explained that “the criminal charge for public incitement of hatred is a serious, specific charge that is rarely used”. She added that the VPD is “pleased that investigators were able to secure it”.
However, Castonguay did not appear for his court date and is now wanted on a B.C.–wide warrant for his arrest.
Anyone who sees or knows of the whereabouts of Castonguay is asked to call police. Also, anyone who experiences a hate crime can report it online (forms are also available in Chinese).
Anti-Asian hate crimes have surged throughout the pandemic to become a widespread problem across North America. The VPD found in its year-end report for 2020 that anti-Asian hate crimes jumped up by 717 percent from 2019 (12 cases) to 2020 (98 cases).