Alleged racially-motivated vandalism concerns Penticton Chinese community

Members of the Penticton Chinese community are speaking out after an alleged racially-motivated attack left them with broken windows and unanswered questions. Pictured above is Shui Kei Ma, who spoke on behalf of the community. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
Members of the Penticton Chinese community are speaking out after an alleged racially-motivated attack left them with broken windows and unanswered questions. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
Members of the Penticton Chinese community are speaking out after an alleged racially-motivated attack left them with broken windows and unanswered questions. Pictured above is Shui Kei Ma, who spoke on behalf of the community. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
Members of the Penticton Chinese community are speaking out after an alleged racially-motivated attack left them with broken windows and unanswered questions. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
Members of the Penticton Chinese community are speaking out after an alleged racially-motivated attack left them with broken windows and unanswered questions. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)

Members of the Penticton Chinese community are speaking out after an alleged racially-motivated attack left them with broken windows and unanswered questions.

During the night of Feb. 21, several windows at the community’s place of gathering were broken with rocks. Security footage recorded an individual walking alongside their building at 501 Winnipeg Street and saying several angry statements before picking up an object and allegedly breaking the windows.

This has left the group feeling insecure.

“Of course we feel a bit upset, and honestly surprised,” said Shui Kei Ma, who spoke on behalf of the community.

“I don’t why they are doing this. Is it because of the anti-Chinese, anti-coronavirus? I have no idea.”

The group, about 15-strong, is new to that area of downtown Penticton. The building was purchased by a member of their community just last month to be used as a place of gathering. The building will also be used as an office space and a place for workshops once renovations are completed. Although signage has not yet been erected, Ma said they are quite visible going to and from the building.

“It’s a very obvious place, and people could actually see us very, very clearly,” she said. “We are new and we’ve started to have activities.”

This isn’t the first time the group has received unwanted attention. Some were recently yelled at while shopping at a hardware store.

“Some of them, not very polite,” said Ma.

Several members of their community moved to Penticton in April, 2019; however, some have been living here even longer. Ma immigrated to Canada in 1992, and moved back to Hong Kong in 1997. At one point she studied in Montreal. She was among the group that arrived back in Canada last April.

They left Hong Kong for several reasons but mainly to escape the turmoil. Before moving back, Ma viewed Penticton as a quiet getaway from the hustle and bustle of cities like Hong Kong, or even Vancouver. That, and she has many friends in Canada.

“I really like this place, it’s nice and quiet,” she said. “It’s nice here in Penticton basically, but we do have some experience… because we just moved back and we need to renovate our house and we went to a store and I noticed that some, I can’t say if it’s ladies or gentleman, but the way they speak to us is quite different than when they speak to a Caucasian.

“I have no idea why.”

Lately as word of the COVID-19 coronavirus has spread, so has fear. Ma said this may or may not have something to do with the way the Chinese community is being treated.

“People are slightly more sensitive of seeing us,” explained Ma. “But of course I let them know actually I moved back quite a while ago, and not from China. Because once people hear about that, I think they are kind of fearful.”

Ma said their reason for speaking out is to raise awareness about what they believe could be racial discrimination.

“Canada is supposed to be a place for all nationalities – we’re very, very famous for that,” she said.

“I think this would be good for people to know, especially in such a small community. I think it’s nice to have people know about this – what happens to a minority like us.”

Ma explained their group wants nothing more than to blend with the community and be good neighbours.

“We don’t want any struggle or conflict with any others,” she said. “We want to spread happiness and harmony.”

Penticton RCMP confirmed that at 12:14 a.m. on Feb. 22 they received the report of broken windows. Authorities are currently investigating.

READ MORE: Online crime reporting coming to Penticton

@PentictonNews
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Penticton may soon allow drinking alcohol in some public places

Trying to inconspicuously drink on the beach could become a thing of the past

Dementia intensifies loneliness and loss for seniors in pandemic, says caregiver

Seniors care expert says patience and sharing keys to helping those with dementia cope through virus

No injuries in Penticton Indian Band structure fire

The structure, which sustained significant damage, was boarded up and seemingly vacant

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Central Okanagan schools ready to welcome students back

Students are set to go back to school next Monday, June 1

Houseboat company partly owned by Shuswap MLA withdraws controversial ad

The ad welcomed houseboaters from other provinces, contradicting anti COVID-19 measures.

Squabble between campers in North Shuswap leads to bear spraying

An argument over late night partying escalated into a fight which led to one person being sprayed

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

VIDEO: Flowers stolen from Vernon distillery

Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery captured surveillance footage of the thief in a black car

Fundraiser launched for North Okanagan drive-in

Vernon resident seeks to raise $20K to save Starlight Drive-In

Most Read