Police ask for help to find man charged in Vancouver hate crime

Police are asking the public for help to locate a man wanted on a province-wide warrant in connection to a hate crime.

Officers say they're looking for Yves Castonguay, who was charged late last month in an incident at the Chinese Cultural Centre.

The 47-year-old has been charged with one count of public incitement of hatred and one count of mischief to property.

Police say Castonguay failed to attend a court date, and is now wanted for arrest.

It is alleged the suspect wrote "disturbing, racist remarks" targeting Vancouver's Asian community on four windows facing the courtyard of the cultural centre on April 2, 2020.

At the time, the chair of the centre told CTV News that executives are used to a certain level of vandalism, as the incident was not the first.

But, Fred Kwok said in an interview in 2020, "this is an extreme case. Before, it was never a hate narrative." 

About a month after the graffiti was painted, police released photos from surveillance camera video showing a suspect in the case.

Officers called on the public to help identify the man they believed was responsible for messages including an anti-Chinese slur.

The Vancouver Police Department did not say on Wednesday exactly when or how a suspect was identified.

They've asked anyone who sees Castonguay or knows of his whereabouts to contact officers.

"It has been a tough year for the East Asian community," Const. Tania Visintin said in a statement announcing the warrant for his arrest.

"Vancouver police saw a 717 per cent increase in crimes that contained an element of hate, bias, and prejudice last year, with people of East Asian descent being the primary targets. The criminal charge for public incitement of hatred is a serious, specific charge that is rarely used. We are pleased that investigators were able to secure it."

Anyone who is the victim of a hate crime, or who witnesses such a crime, is asked to call 911.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated