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COVID-19: Police investigate graffiti on Calgary’s Chinese Consular-General building as possible hate crime

A file photo of a Calgary police car.
A file photo of a Calgary police car. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Hate crimes investigators are looking into whether graffiti scrawled on the side of the Chinese Consular-General building in Calgary was motivated by hate.

The graffiti, seen painted on the building on Wednesday, was sprayed on the building by three people dressed in black, according to police.

“They spray painted vulgar phrases referencing COVID-19 along the north wall of the building and left,” police said in a news release.

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Police did not provide any details on what the nature of the graffiti was.

According to police, it’s the second time in over week the building has been targeted by vandals — last Tuesday, graffiti was painted on the sidewalk outside the facility, though it didn’t reference COVID-19.

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“The pandemic has led to a lot of political debate and strong views, and people are obviously free to hold whatever view they wish,” hate crimes coordinator Craig Collins said.

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“But when people are targeting others for ill treatment or committing crimes because of those views, we have a duty to get involved.”

CCTV images of the three suspects are being released in hopes the public might help identify them and track them down.

Calgary police are looking to identify three suspects involved in a possibly hate-motivated graffiti attack on the Chinese Consular-General building.
Calgary police are looking to identify three suspects involved in a possibly hate-motivated graffiti attack on the Chinese Consular-General building. Calgary Police Service

While Calgary police said there hasn’t been a spike in hate crimes since the coronavirus pandemic started, this isn’t the first case of hate-motivated crime directed at people in the Asian community in the city.

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“Generally, we have not seen the same spike in hate crimes that some other areas have seen,” Collins added. “But we are hearing from the Chinese community that they are concerned about growing hostility, so we are monitoring it closely.”

Anyone with information on the graffiti, or those seen vandalizing the building, is asked to contact police at 403-266-1234, or to contact Crime Stoppers.