Saturday, March 2, 2024

Realtors from Vancouver target of angry messages, after listing $12.8M Penticton Okanagan home

 Realtors from Vancouver target of angry messages, after listing $12.8M Penticton Okanagan home

Two Vancouver Realtors said they’ve been targeted by angry messages after
 marketing a luxury $12.8-million lakefront home in Penticton, B.C.

The three-storey, 6,300 sq. ft. home, located at 587 Vancouver Ave., is described as “an exquisite lakefront architectural masterpiece with unparalleled levels of luxury.”

The seller, who lives at the property full-time, enlisted  Vancouver-based Oakwyn Realty to sell his luxury home.

Promotional Video
Moved to Kelowna June 27, 2023 

Matthew Zhang, who works for the real estate firm and is Chinese-Canadian, said he and his partner Kevin Chen noticed online comments after the property was featured in a Vancouver online news site called Daily Hive.

Realtors Kevin Chen and Matt Zhang listed this $12.8 million luxury home in Penticton, B.C. 

“The majority of it was like ‘take your dirty money back to Communist China, we don’t want your criminal laundered money here, get out of our town, you are not welcome here nor the country’,” he told Global News.
Click to play video: 'Hidden Hate: The rise of anti-Asian racism in B.C.'
Hidden Hate: The rise of anti-Asian racism in B.C.

The derogatory comments culminated in a private email sent to Chen, which read, in part:

“We do not appreciate you bringing dirty laundered money to our little town. 12 million dollars for a house. You must be mad the email said.

“You are pushing local people out, people who have grown up here can no longer afford to live here… Kevin Chen, you are not welcome in this province or country. Please leave. Please take your dirty laundered money and with your greed back to China.”

Chen, ethnic Chinese, was born in Taiwan, then the family emigrated to Vancouver as a child. Zhang also moved to B.C. from China when he was just a child with his family.

“I grew up in Vancouver, we moved here when I was less than one year old, I consider Vancouver my home, I am Canadian, and honestly, it’s been around. It’s not like it’s a new thing,” he said.

There is over $1,000,000 worth of marble in this home, over $1,000,000 of custom furniture, and the Gaganeau & La Cornue kitchen is worth over $500,000. 

Zhang said it’s frustrating when two Chinese men sell luxury property.

“We are kind of used to it. Being younger Chinese guys in the real estate world, we expect this a lot. People automatically assume things,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Hidden Hate: Fear in Vancouver’s Chinatown community'
Hidden Hate: Fear in Vancouver’s Chinatown community

“It’s a bit comical how ignorant and how uneducated some Canadians are.”

Zhang said they reported the threatening and racist email to Penticton RCMP, who are investigating, but Zhang believes the perpetrator used a fake email and name while using a VPN to bounce off different servers around the world, which will make the suspect difficult to track down.

Global News has reached out to Penticton RCMP for comment.

Click to play video: 'More Asian British Columbians coming forward to tell stories of hostility and racist treatment'
More Asian British Columbians coming forward to tell stories of hostility and racist treatment

“I feel like there are a lot of closet Canadian racists that were scared to speak up prior to COVID, and given the circumstances now with the economic social-class differences, a lot of people did lose their jobs during COVID, that it is easy to blame others. The easy thing is point at the Asian people,” he said.

Zhang added that the property’s location and price tag has also fuelled pushback from some local residents.

“With this home being so expensive in an area that is quite peaceful, quite quiet, a very small town, I think it’s created hatred towards Chinese people.”

Zhang encourages people to REPORT anti-CHINESE racism.

The $12.8 million home, listed in fall 2020, remains on the market.

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