Man faces charge of mischief after vandalism of Komagata Maru memorial in Vancouver

Memorial vandalism charge

Police in Vancouver say an arrest warrant has been issued for a man who allegedly defaced a memorial dedicated to the passengers of a ship that was forced to return to India more than a century ago.

The Vancouver Police Department says in a news release a charge of mischief was approved Monday following a four-month investigation into vandalism of the city's Komagata Maru memorial.

Police announced in August they were investigating the report as a possible hate crime after social media posts showed graffiti and handprints in white paint that had marred the memorial on the city's seawall.

The memorial includes the names of those who sailed to Vancouver from India aboard the Komagata Maru on May 23, 1914, but were denied entry due to racist policies at the time.

The vessel, which arrived in Vancouver's Burrard Inlet carrying 376 people, was denied entry to Canada even though those on board were British subjects.

Premier John Horgan said in a social media post in August that he was "deeply upset and angry" by the graffiti, which police said covered the passengers' names.

Thirty-nine-year-old Yuniar Kurniawan is facing one count of mischief.

Police say they collected evidence from the scene and identified a suspect after people began discussing the crime on social media.

“This crime reverberated throughout the community because of what this memorial reveals about our past and the steps we have taken to become a more inclusive community,” Sgt. Steve Addison says in a release.

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