Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montreal, August 17, 2006 --- A Chinese couple in Saint-Sauveur who was assaulted, spat on and verbally insulted with racial slurs by three white French youths has mandated CRARR to file a civil rights complaint on their behalf.

On August 2nd, 2006, Mr. Peter Zeng and Ms. Richelle Ye who have been living with their 7 year old son in Saint-Sauveur since December 2003, were the target of a hate-motivated assault and death threats in a park near their son’s day camp. Mr. Zeng was pushed and punched by a male while Ms. Ye was spat on and pushed by two females who yelled death threats and racial slurs such as “F. you Chinese” and “Go back to your country.” A security guard stopped the three youths from further assaulting them.

The couple believed that the assault was related to the theft of their dog several weeks earlier by a group of youths, one of whom has since died in a car accident. Their dog was recovered thanks partly to a private detective they hired. They suspect that the youths who assaulted and threatened them were friends of the deceased.

Mr. Zeng and Ms. Ye are still shaken by the assault two weeks later. Last week, eight youths, including one of the females who assaulted Ms. Ye, came to their store to harass them. The Saint-Sauveur police has arrested and charged one of the three youths with assault and uttering death threats in relation to the August 2nd incident.

CRARR has filed a complaint of civil rights violations against all three aggressors, seeking $45,000 in moral damages and $30,000 in punitive damages; a cease-and-desist order from engaging in any act of discrimination and harassment against the family and a public apology.

According to CRARR’s Executive Director, Fo Niemi, the case has all the characteristics of a hate-motivated assault based on the victims’ race and should be treated as a hate crime by the Saint-Sauveur police. CRARR urges that criminal charges be laid against the two female youths so that the couple does not have to fear for their physical safety, being newcomers in a town internationally recognized for its majestic ski hills and its hospitality.

In a letter to Saint-Sauveur Mayor Michel Lagacé, Mr. Niemi praised many residents’ support for the family and his administration for its cooperation in the case. CRARR also called on the town’s administration to act firmly and swiftly against hate and racism when they manifest in the municipality.