A group of young men wearing clown wigs were spotted splattering fake blood onto the walls of a Chinese garden in Vancouver.
The group was seen splashing the red substance onto the white walls of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden on Feb. 11.
Lorraine Lowe, the garden’s executive director, said volunteers at the site noticed the young men with clown wigs, who appeared to be filming a video, at around 3:30 p.m.
“It looked like they had some sort of message to deliver,” she said. “They were wearing clown wigs and their faces were painted. They were quite distinct and they stuck out clearly.”
Lowe shared an image of the vandalized wall on Twitter, calling on the city officials and the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) for help.
young adult male students filming around outside our garden walls looks like a project, left this huge mess on our cultural institution walls. They’re wearing clown wigs & walking north on Columbia now. @ParkBoard @CityofVancouver @VancouverPD who do we call to clean? pic.twitter.com/IFq6fVHEUb
— Lorraine Lowe (@lorrainelowe_) February 11, 2023
According to Lowe, the incident is another example of the increased vandalism in Chinatown since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are always being targeted, please don’t kick us while we’re down,” she said. “I think it’s an ongoing battle to try to figure out a way to deter this sort of behavior. It’s been going on for quite some time now.”
The garden has a long history of being vandalized. Vandals also targeted the garden in December 2020, then in January 2022 and again in July 2022.
The VPD is currently investigating the incident.
The motive of the group is currently unclear, and no suspects have been identified.
Lowe wonders if the vandalism was meant to be a political statement, a school project or a viral trend.
“Are they ignorant? Was it intentional? It’s something that can’t be taken lightly. I don’t know if they realize what they’ve done. I don’t think they really understand the severity and the impact this has triggered.”
The vandalism was done a day before the garden hosted its community day event, which allows visitors to explore the garden for free and enjoy vendors and performances.
According to Lowe, the fake blood was cleaned up before the event took place.
Vancouver’s Chinatown has seen a 455% increase in reported graffiti since 2019.
Earlier this month, the VPD arrested a man in his 60s who is believed to have committed multiple acts of vandalism throughout Chinatown.
He allegedly wrote graffiti on a building near Abbott and West Pender Street, then tagged a sign near Main and Keefer Street. Investigators also suspect him of defacing other properties throughout the neighborhood.
Sergeant Steve Addison assured members of the community that the VPD is working to arrest those responsible for the vandalisms.
“We’ve been listening closely to residents and business owners who have concerns about increasing street violence, disorder, and vandalism in Chinatown,” he said. “While there is no quick fix, we’ve been working hard to investigate crimes and apprehend people responsible for making the community feel less safe.”