Vancouver – Vancouver Police are collecting evidence after someone defaced the city’s Komagata Maru memorial Sunday. Police are treating the troubling incident as a possible hate crime.

“Front-line officers and other specially-trained investigators worked throughout the evening yesterday, and will continue to gather evidence in this disturbing crime,” says Sergeant Steve Addison, VPD. “This investigation is a priority, and we are committed to finding out who is responsible and why they did this.”

VPD immediately launched an investigation Sunday, after multiple online and media reports began showing white paint splattered on the memorial, located on the seawall in Coal Harbour. The graffiti, which included multiple white hand-prints, covered the names of people who had been aboard the Komagata Maru when it arrived in Vancouver in 1914, carrying nearly 400 people from India who were denied entry to Canada despite being citizens of the British Empire.

“This monument is an important memorial to the people who traveled here seeking a better life and were wrongfully turned away because of racist policies,” adds Sergeant Addison. “It is disheartening that someone could show such disrespect to this important memorial, and we’d like anyone with information to come forward.”

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call 604-717-0613.