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Vancouver police investigating unprovoked assaults on East Asian women as possible hate crimes

Police are investigating two unprovoked assaults in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Bayne Stanley

Two alleged unprovoked assaults against East Asian women in downtown Vancouver are under investigation, police said Friday.

Vancouver Police Department spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin said the investigations are in their early stages, but they are “not ruling out any motives, including if there was a bias, prejudice or hate element to the assaults.”

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Police said a woman was walking in the area of Granville and Helmcken streets at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday when a man punched her in the nose. She fell to the ground, but managed to get to safety, police said.

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The suspect is described as a Caucasian man in his 20s, standing six-feet tall with a thin build and short hair. He was wearing a red T-shirt with yellow stripes, dark pants and sneakers at the time of the assault.

Read more: Asian communities across Canada report rising racist behaviour during COVID-19 crisis

The following day, a man allegedly spat on a woman who was walking to an Evo vehicle near West Georgia Street and Citadel Parade. The man continued to walk away and was not located by police.

The suspect in that incident is described as around five-feet-six with dark brown, shoulder-length hair. He was wearing dark baggy clothing at the time of the assault.

Earlier in the year, Vancouver police reported a rise in anti-Asian crime amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or, if they wish to remain anonymous, CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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