Candidate Shocked Richmond Councillor Calls Crime an “Asian Community” Only Issue

For Immediate Release

October 23, 2008

RICHMOND – The comments from Richmond Councillor Harold Steves calling crime an “Asian community” only issue that panders to the “Asian vote” is outrageous and requires a full retraction and apology, Richmond Council Candidate Kiichi Kumagai said today on behalf of the Richmond First Team.

“When I first saw Mr. Steves’ comments I was shocked and appalled by his brushing off of crime as an “Asian Community” only issue,” said Kumagai. “Crime is an issue that touches everyone in our community, and for Mr. Steves’ to push it off on one specific group is offensive to not only the Asian community but to the priorities of our entire community.”

Mr. Steves’ controversial remark appeared in the Thursday edition of the Georgia Straight in an article discussing Richmond First council candidates concerns for the safety of the Canada Line. With respect to the concerns being raised by Richmond First candidates, Mr. Steves’ is quoted as saying “The Asian community has been really concerned about crime, and so they’re trying to get the Asian vote.”

“It’s a shame that there are people who want to split up our city in to one group or another,” said Kumagai. “Mr. Steves needs to apologize to the people of Richmond for saying that crime is only important if you’re Chinese.”

On Wednesday, Richmond First council candidates launched their four-point plan to help address the crime problems faced in Richmond. This plan includes:

1. Redirecting the RCMP surplus to a dedicated fund for community police stations, crime prevention programs, fire rescue equipment and high demand public safety capital upgrades.

2. Continuing to put pressure on Translink to protect the Canada Line to prevent it from becoming a “Crime Train” by increasing policing and adding fare gates at Richmond stations.

3. Fighting gang violence and organized crime through increases resources for RCMP integrated taskforces to ensure everyone feels safe in our community.

4. Working with the RCMP to reach a full compliment of officers to get more police on the street and in our neighbourhoods.

“When I talk with people in our community, crime is right at the top of the list of their concerns,” said Kumagai. “Our residents deserve to feel safe in their own neighbourhood, free from crime, theft, and vandalism that has become more and more prevalent as our city’s population has grown.”

Richmond First is running a team of four candidates for City Council, including current Councillors Derek Dang and Bill McNulty, along with council candidates Kiichi Kumagai and Ken Johnston.

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