Suspect in Glenmore racist graffiti was refused entry due to health restrictions the day prior

Suspect was refused entry

Investigators believe the suspect who painted racist graffiti on a Korean restaurant in Kelowna’s Glenmore neighbourhood had been refused entry the day prior due to COVID-19 health restrictions.

Insp. Ian McIntosh told reporters Tuesday morning the owner of Bon Ga Korean Cuisine had a “confrontation” with a patron who was not allowed to enter due to health mandates.

He did not specify whether it was due to the vaccine passport, masking or another COVID-19 restriction.

“It is believed this is the same person who returned the following morning and is observed on video putting the graffiti on the pavement and business,” McIntosh said.

The suspect, who was masked in the video, has not been identified at this time. McIntosh said they are still considering sharing the video with the public. The vandalism occurred at about 5:30 a.m. on Saturday.

A swastika, profanity and “no China” was featured in the graffiti.

The vandalism is a part of a spate of racism in Kelowna over the past two weeks. Racist slurs were hurled on a city bus followed by a fight on Halloween, a Confederate flag and a hanged effigy were featured in a home’s decorations and swastika was plastered on the back of a truck in comparison to vaccine mandates.

McIntosh could not say if the pandemic was to blame in any of the incidents.

“We've heard the cliche term, we're in unprecedented times. And we certainly are,” he said. “I would suggest to you we have been going through arguably the last 18 months of a mental health crisis around the effects of the pandemic.”

Restrictions, economic and health impacts of the virus have added stress to everybody’s lives, McIntosh added.

“Whether or not that's an actual compounding factor, as to why a person chose racist remarks, chose to hang an effigy, chose to spray paint racist symbols. I can't answer that, that lies within the individual, but it is a symptom of society in that we need to as a collective condemn this behaviour and investigate it to the fullest ability,” he said.

The investigation into the restaurant vandalism continues.

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