ST. PAUL, Minn.—The influx of Hmong refugees into the Great White North hadn’t caused much of a disturbance until Nov. 21, when, authorities say, 36-year-old Chai Vang fatally shot six fellow hunters in the Wisconsin woods.
Mr. Vang, who has pleaded not guilty to murder charges, maintains he shot the hunters in self-defense after he was showered with racial epithets and accosted, a claim of racial abuse that other Hmong have begun saying is common in this city that is home to the highest concentration of the Laotian refugees in the United States.
“After the shootings, a lot of people around here came out and said they had been harassed before,” said Cheu Lee, 40, editor of the Hmong Times, based in St. Paul. “Some people have been harassed for years, I am told, and my father even said he has been harassed when he was hunting.”
A posting on the Internet discussion site of Hmong Times made clear how some local Hmong feel—the shootings were brought about by “white racism.”
“If Chai Vang was a white country boy, the incident wouldn’t occur as it did . . . ,” the poster wrote. “Let me be crystal clear—he shot them because he is proud to be Hmong.”