'I was shocked': Richmond woman speaks out about assault and racist slurs

Warning: This story contains offensive language.

A woman in Richmond is speaking out about how she was targeted in an assault involving racist slurs on Monday.

She shared her story as news of an unrelated attack on an Asian woman at UBC emerged.

Nikki asked that only her first name be used, and said the incident at Rocanini Coffee Roasters in Steveston, where she works as a manager, has left her feeling scared.

“I was shocked, for sure,” she told CTV News. “Steveston is a very nice neighbourhood. Everyone is very nice. I just don’t believe that this kind of thing happened right in my shop.”

What unfolded inside the cafe was captured on security camera video that has been shared online. Nikki said a man brought in a table from outside without asking and sat down with a woman right outside the washroom. When another table became free, she approached them.

“I came here, talked to them very nicely, asked them if they could move to another table, because they have the protocols here, and I have to follow it,” she said, and added the first few times they ignored her. “I ask(ed) one more time, but this last time pissed them off.”

The security video shows the couple pouring drinks on the ground, and then heading to the exit.

“When they walked past by me, the lady was actually pouring the leftover coffee right on my face and my body, and said something, ‘F*** you Chinese,'” Nikki said.

She followed the couple outside and began taking a video with her cellphone.

In the video, a man in a blue sweater opens a car door for a woman with her hair in a ponytail, as a voice is heard asking him what his wife said.

His response: “Let it go. She’s not well. Let it go.” A few seconds later, “F***ing Chinese” can be heard twice.

RCMP were called and arrested a 74-year-old woman. No charges have been recommended at this point. Nikki said the woman has conditions not to come near her.

There is a connection to a previous incident in 2019. A man washing the same car with the same license plate was captured on video making racist statements.

In separate case, UBC RCMP are now looking for witnesses in an unprovoked assault on an Asian woman on Saturday evening just after 8 p.m.

While taking out the garbage in the alley behind the 5700 block of University Boulevard, the victim was punched in the head and stomach by a unknown man, who used a racial slur. He ran off, and the woman hid and then called 911. She was treated for non-life threatening injuries in hospital.

The incidents are being condemned by the non-profit Asian Canadian Equity Alliance, which organized a large rally against anti-Asian hate crimes on Sunday in Vancouver.

Director David Zhang said they are also offering their support to the victims involved.

“We have a long journey until our community members feel safe on street, in our cities, and in this country,” he said, and noted only two weeks have passed since the mass shootings at spa and massage businesses in Atlanta, Georgia that killed eight people, including six Asian women.

Zhang said despite the spike in anti-Asian hate crimes recorded by Vancouver police in 2020, the perpetrators of racist attacks aren’t facing consequences, and his organization wants to see offences prosecuted.

“We need to do something,” he said. “Otherwise, we won’t stop the wave of hate, Asian hate, here.”

Nikki said she has received a lot of love and support.

“I’m trying to bring up everyone’s awareness, just in case,” she said, and added she also wants to send a message for people to show kindness towards each other.

“As human beings, what we can do is to take care of each other,” she said. “To love each other, be nice to each other. That’s how we’ll get through all this.”

Richmond RCMP are looking for any additional video evidence or witnesses. Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 604-278-1212, Richmond_Tips@rcmp-grc.gc.ca, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.