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Machete attack on foreign exchange students not what the world expects from Vancouver

Three teens involved in the violent machete attack on Korean exchange students have been arrested by North Vancouver police. 18-year-old Blair Benedict, 18-year-old Christopher Lambert, both of North Vancouver, and a 17-year-old Surrey resident have been charged with aggravated assault for slashing the students at the Lonsdale Quay bus stop on Jan. 28.

Not surprisingly, this doesn't bode well for Vancouver's reputation as an attractive destination for foreign exchange students. I mean, attacks with a machete? Those injured students (who are now back in Korea) might have been braced for such an assault if they were going on exchange to Nigeria, but probably weren't expecting this when they chose to study on Canada's West coast. With the severe injuries they incurred, it's not likely they'd recommend Vancouver as a travel destination to friends or family.

Angry Asian Man, a popular blog for Asian-Americans, expressed shock at the incident:

"Glad to hear the victims are okay, and the cops caught the guys who did this. But damn, a machete attack to the head? Sorry your trip to Vancouver sucked so much, guys."

The question is how the suspects, if found guilty, will be punished. Some will recall the vicious attack on 22-year-old South Korean student Sandy Ji-won Park, who was jogging in Stanley Park when she was choked and attacked by Robert Gary Wallin back in 2002. Wallin was released early in 2008 after serving just two-thirds of his sentence, upsetting the victim's family over what they deemed a too-lax punishment for leaving the student wheelchair-bound and permanently disabled.

If the three local teens involved in the machete attacks are let off with mere slap-on-the-wrist sentences, it's likely to tarnish the city's reputation for years to come.

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