East Vancouver sees red over prolific graffiti ‘artist’ Mohinder

Published: June 17, 2013

Graffiti tag ‘Mohinder’ along Main St. near Terminal Ave. in East Vancouver on June 17. Steve Bosch / PNG


As a small East Vancouver business owner, the last thing David Wong needs is to tack on an extra couple thousand dollars to his yearly expenses.

But in his 25 years of owning the Dairy Queen Brazier on Main Street, he’s come to terms with the added cost of graffiti.

“We get tagged quite often,” Wong said from his restaurant Monday. “We spend between $1,000 or $2,000 a year on (clean-up).”

Recently he’s been hit twice by East Van’s latest and prolific offender, Mohinder.

The drab graffiti tag has been popping up across East Van over the last six months. It’s a plain — and almost pathetic — tag, which merely consists of the East Indian name sprawled across a surface.

“He tagged it once and then we got rid of it and then the next weekend he came back and tagged me again and then he put a smiley face right next to it,” said Wong.

According to East Van resident, Douglas Haddow, the tags have “ramped-up” in the last six weeks.

He’s seen it “creeping” into downtown areas around Chinatown and sprawling over to Commercial Drive.

“On the Twitter and Tumblr and Instagram sphere people like it,” said Haddow, adding that it’s grown into East Van’s very own meme with about 400 photos on Instagram.  “There’s so much mystery around it, which is why I think people find it so funny and want to document it, sort of like a neighbourhood in-joke now.”


But the Vancouver police side with Wong’s frustration.

According to police spokesman, Randy Fincham, they’ve received “quite a few” reports about the tag.

While police can lay criminal mischief charges if they catch a vandal in the act, it’s otherwise reported through the City of Vancouver’s 311 line. If the tag is on private property, the owner has 10 days to clean it up at their own expense (like Wong does), but if it’s public property, the city sends out the Goodbye Graffiti firm — that cost ultimately falling to taxpayers.

And, according to a city spokeswoman, $324,000 was spent on graffiti clean-up in 2012.

Goodbye Graffiti also serves the private sector, with costs starting at $199 for a 10 to 15-square-foot tag.

But that’s something Wong simply can’t afford.

“We do it ourselves … we just carry extra pales of paint and do it right away,” he said. “It’s about a two- to three-day process.

“It’s just another thing that I have to put on my plate … I guess it’s just the cost of doing business.”



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