Attack on Stanley Park Jogger Sends Shiver Around the World

Christina Myers,
The Province Newspaper,
May 31, 2002

 

The random attack on a young woman from Korea in Staley Park has sent shivers of fear around the world. 

As Sandy Jingwon Park's condition was upgraded to critical but stable in Vancouver General Hospital last night, her fellow English students said the attack has badly tarnished Vancouver's international reputation for being a safe place to study and visit. 

"I worry now, my parents called last night very worried, " said Eunhee Kim, a 20 year old Korean woman who is studying English at a Seymour street language school. Yesterday I spoke with some Korean freinds and many women were worried about it, and men too," said Byungmin Yoon, a 24-year-old Korean man studying at another school on Robson Street. 

Franscesca Lee of the Kim Okran International Studies Information Centre on Seymour Street said students come to Canada because it is considered one of the safest places in the world. 

"Now they're like, 'Let's not go to Stanley Park anymore," she said. "all of the parents will be concerned about it now." 

Park's parents only learned of the Monday night attack on their 22 year-old daughter on Wednesday, said Han Gwan, Korea's consul-general in Vancouver. 

The frantic parents have been unable to arrange a flight so they can be by her side, he said. "They want to be here as soon a spossible," said Gwann. "Maybe within 24 hours." 

The consul-general said he visited Park, who is in a semi-conscious state with a brain injury, but was unable to speak with her. Robert Gary Wallin, 25, who has been charged with aggraveated assault and attempted murder in the attack on Park, was described as "quite a nice lad" yesterday by a neighbor who has known him for a decade. 

"I've always found him very polite, always very nice," said S.M."It's surprising to hear this...he's helped carry my groceries in." 

Park, who has been studying English in Canada for six months, enrolled at Robson College on Seymour Street on the day of the attack. Police are refusing to say where she studied before."Monday was her first day," said Robson College president Peter Son. "even the teachers can't remember her. It makes me so unhappy, it's very sad." 

Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter began handing out flyers in Stanley Park yesterday to promote safety of women in public places."Our immediate response is to understand this affects us all, even though we don't know the women," said spokeswoman Suzanne Jay. Several English schools have contaced Jay's group since the attack to provide safety seminars for foreign students.