Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

A longtime merchant in Vancouver’s Chinatown is turning the tables on the taggers who’ve repeatedly targeted his storefront in recent years.

Tommy Wong has operated the Chung Shan Trading Company for some thirty years, selling ginseng and herbal products on Gore Avenue.

Wong works six days a week and arrives almost every morning to find the rolling shutter that protects his business defaced with spray paint.

“It’s kind of [destroying] for me. I feel that and it kind of discriminates, ”the business owner told Global News.

Google Street View captured the words ‘Loser’ and ‘Useless’ scrawled across his storefront in May 2021 and Wong has seen various graffiti tags including racist phrases since.

“Did they think about the feeling from the other people?” said Wong.

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“You give some respect to another [race]. ”

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Plagued by public safety concerns, Chinatown business owners plead for government help

Earlier this month, Wong decided to write back and covered his own storefront with the five-line response.

It reads: “[Hey] u, go find a job make your day. What a shame of your life? Coward. What else u can do? Ha Ha. Graffiti. Your mom will [be] happy to see u found a job. Ha! Ha! ”

“It’s a message for someone who could find their own way better than [drawing] a picture everywhere, ”Wong explained in an interview.

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“They have the talent to find their own job but they did not do it.”

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Mural and street artists work to change Chinatown

Mural and street artists work to change Chinatown

Vancouver City Coun. Pete Fry said Wong’s gesture is an appropriate response to the often racist graffiti in the neighborhood.

“I can certainly feel his frustration and I appreciate his empathy there that he’s actually sort of suggesting that this is not the best use of this person’s time either,” Fry told Global News.

Community efforts are underway to clean up Chinatown, where Vancouver police say graffiti vandalism is up 300 percent.

“It’s worse. Every blank space appears to have graffiti on it and that’s a problem, ”said Deputy Chief Const. Howard Chow of the Vancouver Police Department.

“Maybe the taggers, their intention is not because of hate crime, maybe it’s their expression. I tell you the residents and seniors, they’re seeing it as that. ”

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With nothing seemingly off-limits for taggers including windows and doormats, an iconic Downtown Eastside street artist is urging younger members of the graffiti community to give the six blocks of Chinatown a break.

“These people here are not into it right. It’s not in their culture and stuff, so just leave them alone, ”Jamie Hardy aka Smokey Devil told Global News in an interview Saturday.

“I have to get my own paint to cover their paint almost every day,” said Wong, who is responsible for removing graffiti from his property under city bylaws.

Click to play video: 'A Chinatown business owner is struggling to recover after being attacked behind his restaurant'

A Chinatown business owner is struggling to recover after being attacked behind his restaurant

A Chinatown business owner is struggling to recover after being attacked behind his restaurant

Fry said the city of Vancouver offers free paint to combat nuisance graffiti and is offering to help support Wong if needed.

Wong would just like taggers to have some respect.

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“They want to do whatever they want,” he said.

“They may have (a) story by each person. They want to express their own feeling but they did (it) the wrong way. ”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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