News / Vancouver

Transit police arrest man for alleged hate crime on Canada Line

The suspect allegedly slapped a woman boarding the Canada Line and threatened to kill her

Transit police have arrested one man after a hate crime on the Canada Line.

File photo / Metro Order this photo

Transit police have arrested one man after a hate crime on the Canada Line.

A man has been arrested in connection with an alleged hate crime against a woman on the Canada Line, transit police say.

The victim, who identifies herself as Noor Fadel in a Facebook post describing the incident, said she got on a train at Waterfront station Monday night when a man allegedly began swearing at her in Arabic and saying he would kill her.

Transit police say the the suspect allegedly told her to go back to her country and that he would kill all Muslims.

"He was using horrific words as he was aggressively making actions when he tried to grab my head and shove it to his crotch," Fadel alleged in her post, which was widely shared on the social media platform.

Police alleged the suspect then tried to pull her hijab off and slapped her face. That's when another passenger moved to stand between Fadel and the suspect, according to police.

The suspect got off the train at Vancouver City Centre station, while the good Samaritan and Fadel got off at Yaletown, where police and paramedics awaited them.

Canada Line staff tracked the suspect on another train to Vancouver International Airport station, where he was arrested at a nearby convenience store with the help of RCMP.

Pierre Balzan, 46, has been charged with assault and threatening to cause death or bodily harm in connection with the incident. Transit police are also recommending a sexual assault charge, which is pending.

Transit police are commending the passenger who came to the aid of Fadel.

"He put his own safety at risk and stopped what might have become an even more serious situation," it said in a press release Wednesday.

But Fadel, in her Facebook post, pointed out that only one person on the train intervened.

"Out of a whole train filled with people. One person got up and did something and said something," she wrote.

"It saddens my heart that so many people watched as I was being attacked and assaulted simply because of a man who knew nothing of me but chose to judge me based on the hijab I wear."

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