A man has been charged in connection with six anti-Asian hate crimes in Markham, York police say.
Emergency services were called to the area of Pillar Rock Crescent at around 2 p.m. on March 16 for reports of an assault.
Police said a victim was outside when a suspect ran up behind her and hit her in the back with some sort of object.
The woman was not seriously injured.
Upon investigation of that incident, police said they were made aware of five other incidents occurring between January and March 2021 where all of the victims were Asian.
In one case, police said the suspect spit at a victim. Another incident allegedly involved the suspect bumping into someone intentionally while walking down the street.
“The suspect intentionally rammed into the person. Very concerning in terms of the criminal harassment, incidents where the suspect made a number of harassing statements and comments to two victims,” Const. Laura Nicolle told Global News.
Investigators said all incidents appeared to be hate motivated.
Police arrested 33-year-old Arjun Choudhari.
He was charged with assault with a weapon, three counts of assault and two counts of criminal harassment.
A neighbour who lives across the street from the suspect told Global News residents were warning each other about a man targeting Asians, including seniors in the area.
“I feel scared a bit because my kids take the bus on their own,” said Tao Deng.
Police said Choudhari appeared in court on Tuesday and was remanded into custody until Friday.
Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti released a statement saying he was deeply disturbed and disgusted by the reported incidents.
“Markham is home to… one of the largest Chinese diasporas in Canada. One person’s actions do not reflect our community. All of us stand in support of our Asian community when they face hate and discrimination,” he said.
Police said oftentimes hate-motivated incidents are underreported and urged anyone who may have been a victim to come forward. Investigators said they are concerned there are more victims.