Transit police are investigating after a UBC student says she was beaten and robbed by a group of youth on a TransLink bus on Friday Night.
Global News has agreed not to name the woman out of concerns for her safety.
The student says she is traumatized by the attack, which she says happened around 10:45 p.m. on the #14 bus on the way downtown.
The woman, who is Asian, says the incident unfolded when a group of youth boarded the bus and began mocking her for transporting a large printer. They then started drinking vodka and vaping openly, she said.
“It was quite surprising that no one on the bus, even the bus driver, didn’t say anything,” she said.
The woman says when she asked them to stop, the harassment escalated.
It wasn’t until the bus got to its final stop near Pender and Seymour streets that things became physical.
The student told Global News she spoke up when she thought one of the girls was trying to sneak out the back door with the liquor.
“(She) approached me and started beating me on my forehead and my right side of my cheek, with her fist,” she said. “Not even a couple of times, like 10 times.”
The woman said she moved to the front of the bus as she was grappling with the girl, in an attempt to get closer to the driver.
“I looked straight into the female bus driver’s eyes, saying like “help me, help me” or something like that, and she didn’t do anything. I think she was on the driver’s phone or something.”
At that point, she said the other three youth joined the attack, pulling her hair, beating her, kicking her and dragging her to the back of the bus.
What disturbs her even more, she said, is that no one on the bus stepped up to help.
“Everybody (was) just watching it,” she said.
“I was really disappointed that nobody helped me … I got bruises on my face and some of my parts were bleeding. I was really upset nobody was really helping me at all.”
The student said the teens stole her backpack, containing her laptop, cell phone and wallet, before fleeing the scene.
Metro Vancouver Transit Police say they’ve spoken both with the victim and witnesses.
Const. Mike Yake said four youth were arrested for robbery shortly afterward at the Commercial-Broadway SkyTrain station.
The four have since been released into the care of their guardians under a promise to appear.
Police added that there is nothing so far to suggest the attack was racially motivated.
The student says she’s not so sure.
“Rethinking the whole situation, like me being an Asian girl and four Caucasian boys and a girl, and no one helped me in this situation,” she said.
“I’ve heard so many news (stories) during COVID of crimes against Asian people, (saying) that Asian people brought COVID-19 here. … What if (I was) a Caucasian girl, that things would be better? We’ll never know, but I thought about it.”
With files from Erin Ubels