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Asian Montrealer speaks out after racist outburst in local grocery store

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Asian Montrealer speaks out after racist outburst in local grocery store' COVID-19: Asian Montrealer speaks out after racist outburst in local grocery store
WATCH: A grocery store customer in Montreal was the victim on an anti-Asian outburst on Monday and the incident was captured , on a cellphone video. As Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports, the troubling incident is making waves online, with politicians reacting. – Jan 6, 2022

A normal stop at the local supermarket turned into a violent verbal altercation for an Asian Montrealer Monday.

Ken Mak recorded on video an unidentified woman berating him and his girlfriend with swear words and insults, he says.

“At first I thought she wanted information but it turns out she just wanted to relieve her hate speech on me because I am Chinese,” Mak said.

READ MORE: Montreal’s Asian community sees increase in targeted hate crimes, police say

Mak says the lady approached him asking if he was of Chinese origin.

She then proceeded to ask questions about the COVID-19 virus and that’s when Mak says things took an aggressive turn.

The woman can be seen frequently removing her mask and heard hurling anti-Asian racist rhetoric, blaming the Asian community for the ongoing pandemic and lockdown measures.

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“The Chinese people – those f—ing who did all of this. The f—ing epidemic that became a pandemic. It’s because of you Chinese people,” she can be heard saying in the video.

“She completely lost it and began to spew her monologue,” Mak said.

Click to play video: 'Federal minister says government is taking action on anti-Asian racism' Federal minister says government is taking action on anti-Asian racism
Federal minister says government is taking action on anti-Asian racism – Aug 9, 2021

Mak, 33, says he has been living in Canada for the last 20 years and has never been a victim of this type of hate speech.

“I have to ask myself ‘is this happening?’ This is Canada. This is not the Canada I lived in for the last 20 years. It’s not Canadian values,” Mak said.

The altercation was broken up by supermarket employees – they can be seen in the video footage asking the woman to leave the premises and escorting her towards the door.

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While police officers were called to intervene, Mak says he will not be pressing charges or filing an official police report.

“I didn’t suffer any monetary damages and I think battling anti-Asian hate is more important than targeting a single individual – that’s not the goal for me,” Mak said.

READ MORE: ‘It brings back old memories’: New Chinatown cultural centre to share stories of resilience against racism

“It’s like Groundhog Day, here we go again,” said Winston Chan, board member of the Montreal chapter of the National Coalition of Canadians Against Anti-Asian Racism.

Chan says the incident is just one of many in the past two years since the pandemic began.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus fears fueling racism' Coronavirus fears fueling racism
Coronavirus fears fueling racism – Feb 1, 2020

According to SPVM police, Montreal’s Asian community has witnessed an increase in hate crimes since 2020.

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A total of 30 crimes targeting the Asian community were recorded in 2020 between the months of March and December.

Of those, 22 were considered “heinous crimes” and eight were recorded as “hate crimes.”

“The anti-Asian sentiment is happening. We need to put it into statistics, we need the data,” Chan said.

READ MORE: ‘It hurts my heart’: Vancouver nurse says she was target of racist remarks during anti-vaccine card rally

Mak’s video has also sparked reaction from political officials.

Both Montreal mayor Valerie Plante and Quebec’s Minister Responsible for the Fight Against Racism, Benoit Charette have condemned the woman’s outburst.

“Desolate, shocking and condemnable! Behavior like this simply has no place in Quebec,” Charette said.

While encouraged by the politicians’ response, advocates say words are not enough to stop the heinous acts.

“Besides just calling out this problem, it’s important that the government takes action to fight anti-Asian racism,” Chan said.

Mak says he is thankful for the support and actions of the people in the store, those who stood up for him demanding the woman stop.

“That is respect, that is real Canadian values. That’s the Canada I know,” Mak said.

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