Hate crime in Hillsborough

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A racist slogan was daubed on the front door of a house in Hillsborough in what has been described by Police as a hate crime.

The incident occured in Dunbeg Park around 10pm on Thursday August 21.

White paint was also thrown at the property, which is believed to be the home of a couple of Chinese descent.

A 59-year-old man was arrested following the attack on suspicion of criminal damage, vehicle interference and intent to cause criminal damage.

The man was released on police bail pending further inquiries.

It is believed the couple do not intend to leave the area.

Lagan Valley MLA Edwin Poots visited the home that was attacked.

He said that the local community was rallying round the couple and had been leaving in messages of support and calling to offer their best wishes.

The DUP Health Minister said the couple had lived in the area for some time and were well-respected members of the community.

“There is a couple who live in this home, they are a local couple who provide a good service to the local community, and my understanding is that they are well thought of in the neighbourhood,” he said.

“I have been speaking to neighbours who have left letters in to express their sympathy with the couple.

“So that is the sort of community that it is, they are neighbours that get on with people, and this would appear to be a one-off incident.”

Ulster Unionist councillor Alex Redpath expressed his disgust at what happened.

“I am shocked and appalled that this sort of attack could have occurred in Hillsborough,” he said.

“Hillsborough is a welcoming and open community and many local people have expressed their sadness about what took place.

“I want to make it very clear that I condemn this racist attack utterly and I will support any minority community who are subject to this sort of intimidation.

“Northern Ireland is a pluralist society and residents from all ethnic backgrounds should feel welcome.

“I have spoken to police and am informed that they are treating this incident as a hate crime,and that they have made an arrest.”

Downshire West Councillor Owen Gawith, Alliance Party said he hopes this is an “isolated incident”.

He said: “I have lived in Germany as a foreigner there, I live here having moved from England many years ago, and have never experienced any hatred simply because of my background.

“Northern Irish people are generous in welcoming others of all creeds and colours. The couple in Hillsborough know, I am sure, that the disgusting, actions of one person do not represent in any way the feelings of the vast majority.”