A Toronto father who has lived in Canada for more than 35 years says he’s “shocked” and “hurt” after finding racist graffiti spray painted on his SUV outside of his north-end home and police say they are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
“I just can’t believe it,” Wiley Ko told Global News Tuesday. “Every race in this country should be respected, we shouldn’t have this kind of racism here.”
Ko said he parked his SUV in the parking lot of his apartment building, near Don Mills Road and Highway 401, Sunday around 5 p.m.
“It really, really hurts. I’ve been in this country for 35 years and I’ll always believe that every person in this country could live equally,” he said.
“Everyone should be respected. So I don’t know why this kind of racism would get to me, would come to me.”
Toronto Police Const. Jenifferjit Sidhu said the vehicle also had two broken headlights in addition the graffiti, with damage estimated to be in excess of $4,000. She added the incident is currently being investigated as a mischief charge but officers are working with the Toronto Police Hate Crime unit and charges may be upgraded.
WATCH: Racist graffiti spray painted on Toronto man’s SUV. Cindy Pom reports.
Ko said he was “really shocked” upon discovering the graffiti and didn’t know how to process the incident.
“I don’t know how to explain my feelings,” he said. “At the very, very first moment I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to express my feelings.”
He added that racist incidents happen across the country but when it hits close to home it’s a “totally different kind of feeling and emotion”
“I really don’t know what to do. Also, for one minute there I felt my safety is being affected,” Ko said. “Like somebody would attack me.”
Once he realized that the perpetrators knew his identity and where he lives, Ko immediately contacted police and posted the incident on social media in hopes of finding witnesses.
“If somebody did this to you what would you feel?,” he said, adding his safety is “totally jeopardized.” “Would you feel terrible? Would you feel hurt?”
Ko said he immigrated to Canada in 1981 from Hong Kong and has lived here ever since and has two sons aged 28 and 21 who were both born in Toronto.
“They’re all Canadians. I’m also a citizen too,” he said, adding the insinuation he should return to China was ridiculous.
“No way, this is already my home. I consider this country, this city — my home.
“I’m a proud Canadian because this country is really, really great and I respect all kinds of people in this country.”