Two small restaurants located in Salt Spring’s Ganges Alley complex were targetted by vandals late Thursday night or early Friday morning.
Large chunks of stone were thrown through the front windows at both Arigato Sushi and Salt Spring Wok Bar.
“I’m hurting because nothing like this has ever happened to me before,” said wok bar owner Mila Besiata, who took over ownership of the business in January 2019. Arigato’s long-time owners Joanne and Ben Kim have experienced vandalism once before when a back window was broken a few years ago.
The new incidents follow on a series a window smashings that have taken place in Ganges in sporadic spates over the past couple of years. The latest acts of vandalism have a more concerning aspect, though, in which the two shops may have been specially targetted and the attack racially motivated.
“We can’t help but think we’re the only Asian stores here, as much as we don’t want to. It’s just so visible it’s hard not to see it,” said the Kims’ daughter Sabina, who helps out in the sushi restaurant.
Both Besiata and the Kims say despite feeling hurt, unwelcome and unhappy, they have also received a lot of immediate support from other community members.
“I’m just thankful that a lot of people have been very concerned,” Besiata said.
“It is a good community,” Ben Kim added. “Everybody has asked, everybody has tried to help us, everybody has tried to preserve our things. One lady brought flowers.”
A GoFundMe campaign to help with window repair cost has been set up by Eric Booth, who co-owns the Bean Drinking coffee shop in the same complex. Community members can make donations by searching for Window Repair at gofundme.com.
For more on this story, see the Sept. 2, 2020 issue of the Driftwood.