KINGSVILLE — The OPP is investigating a fake want ad on Kijiji which stated a local Chinese restaurant wanted to hire only Chinese job seekers — and not any Blacks or Muslims.
The ad posted last week contained several spelling and grammatical mistakes and read: “Hi, we r hiring 3cooker please bring your resume in person … no black no Msl Chinese only.”
Const. Amanda Allen said Monday that the Essex County OPP’s major crimes unit, along with officers from the Kingsville detachment, will investigate the posting of the fake ad.
She did not rule out including the OPP’s Orillia-based cybercrime unit in the investigation.
The Lucky Chopsticks restaurant issued a short statement last week condemning the fake ad.
“We are disgusted to see that someone would post something so hateful, especially during the pandemic. We did not post this fake ad and we are not hiring. We do not condone any form of hate in our business,” the owner said.
Contacted Tuesday, one of the owners, Michael Lin, said he was concerned about the effect of the phony advertisement on his business.
“I’m a worried man,” he said, while referring to the statement issued last week.
Allen said the OPP will let the investigation run its course before deciding what charge would be laid.
“I can’t speak to what charge will be laid because it’s too early in the investigation,” she said. “We are aware of the community concern. When there is a conclusion, we will issue a media release with an update of what or any charges will be laid and what the consequences would be.”
Lucky Chopsticks has remained open during the pandemic, offering take-out meals at its Main Street East location.
Christopher Kayser, president of Calgary-based Cybercrime Analytics Inc, said it will be a tough task, but not impossible, for police to track down the person responsible for the bogus ad.
“There are forensic tools that can do it easily but (a digital-forensic investigator) would pretty much have stop something else to do this.”
“There is always a way to do it. It’s a question of how much time and effort you want to put into it.”
He said cyber criminals can frequently mask their identity by sending messages through the Dark Web — which isn’t accessible through popular browsers such as Google Chrome — or a private domain name.
Asked what advice he would give the restaurant he said: “It’s another example of prejudice (and) disrespect. In my case, I would ignore it. My concern with these types of cases is they escalate (with media coverage).”
Kayser is the author of Cybercrime through Social Engineering: The New Global Crisis and is a member of the eCrime Cyber Council (ECC). The ECC is an advisory board set up by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance.
Monica Braz, director of marketing and strategic Initiatives with the Southwestern Ontario branch of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), said online fake advertising is becoming more prevalent.
“There are many cases of fake ads that take advantage of a business’s credibility and undermine marketplace trust,” she said in an email. “I’m hopeful that residents will support their concerns and express that any form of racism is not acceptable here.”
Braz said the platform for the post, in this case Kijiji, should be contacted by the owner and asked to take down the offending ad.
Braz also suggested users of restaurants like the Lucky Chopsticks be “Citizen heroes” and report the fake ad to the BBB and police.
Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos noted the fake ad disparages not only Canadians of Chinese origin but also Blacks and Muslims.
“It’s completely inappropriate given the times we’re in, the sensitivities; the whole pandemic has certainly raised the tensions,” he said.
Santos, who has eaten at Lucky Chopsticks with his family, said Kingsville residents should rally around the restaurant and support it.
“I’m hopeful that residents will support their concerns and express that any form of racism is not acceptable here.”
Kayser said there are likely four probable culprits: a disgruntled former employee, another restaurant, an anti-Chinese racist or a person known as “script kiddie” whose motivation is solely to create malicious mischief.
“Script kiddies are people who just think it’s fun to do this stuff — to get a rise out of people.”