A South Korean student in Canada was allegedly beaten and robbed by four White teens while traveling on a bus last week.
The incident, which left the female victim with bruises, scrapes and scratches, occurred in Vancouver around 10:30 p.m. on Friday.
The student, 24, was on her way home from work when the teens boarded the bus and began mocking her for a printer she bought.
Shortly after, the group of two boys and two girls allegedly pulled out a bottle of vodka and started drinking and vaping.
“I felt I needed to step up and say something as a person who lives in Canada, in Vancouver and as a permanent resident. I think I have to say something in the situation,” the University of British Columbia student told CTV News Vancouver.
She told them “nicely” that drinking and vaping on a bus is illegal. In their defense, the group claimed that it was just “water.”
The confrontation escalated into a heated argument that forced the driver of the bus to call the police. As the bus approached Seymour Street and Pender Street, the group allegedly tried to run away.
“The girl who was planning to escape through the back door approached me and started beating me with her fists,” the victim told CBC News. “And then the other three people … are beating me, [the] back of my head, and pulling out my hair, and kicking me and started dragging me from the front of the bus to almost the back door.”
The group managed to flee with her backpack, which contained her laptop, wallet and phone. However, it did not take long before Metro Vancouver Transit Police announced that four teens were arrested for robbery at the Commercial-Broadway SkyTrain station.
The teens have since been released and put back “into the care of their guardians,” according to Transit Police spokesman Michael Yake.
While the teens never used any racial slurs during the altercation, the victim believes that the rise of anti-Asian sentiment amid the COVID-19 pandemic may have influenced her experience. To make matters worse, no one in the bus — including the driver — intervened to help her during the attack.
“Every time I kind of think about recalling the situation I think someone can help me and I even thought, ‘What if I am a white girl? Would it be better?’” she asked, according to CTV News Vancouver. “I think (it would’ve been different).”
Yake said that charges will be recommended against the teens. However, the case will not be treated as racially-motivated.
“At this point in the investigation, there is nothing to suggest that alleged robbery is racially-motivated,” he said.
With the teens back on the streets, the victim doesn’t feel very safe.
“Once I heard that they were released … I don’t feel I’m safe here,” she told CBC News.
Feature Images: Handout