Hong Kong Police Vow to Investigate Protester Sex Assault Claim

(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong police pledged to investigate a protester’s allegation that she was sexually assaulted by officers, after she dramatically shared her story at a university event.

Police responded after the student aired the claim Thursday at a town hall-style event at Chinese University of Hong Kong. The woman, Sonia Ng, said she was assaulted in a darkened body-search room at a detention center near the mainland Chinese border on Aug. 31 and wasn’t the only one who “suffered sexual violence.”

Ng removed the face mask she was wearing in front of a crowd of more than 1,000 people and challenged university administrators present to take a stand against police violence.

Speaking later on a radio show, Ng added that she received threats by phone from people with mainland numbers and had her personal information made public on the internet after sharing her story, Radio Television Hong Kong reported. She also clarified that the alleged abuse took place at the Kwai Chung Police Station about 35 kilometers (22 miles) away, it said.

The Hong Kong Police Force said in a statement that they hadn’t received a formal complaint and vowed to “proactively” seek Ng’s account to investigate. The police “accord high priority to such a serious allegation,” the force said on its Facebook page.

Police and protesters have repeatedly accused each other of abuses over weeks of tense clashes in the former British colony, with human rights group Amnesty International last month saying authorities used “unnecessary and excessive force” amounting to “torture.” While Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has promised to investigate any claims of police misconduct, she has so far resisted demands for an independent commission of inquiry.

Ng said she was arrested at Prince Edward Station in the city’s Kowloon district during one of the most controversial episodes of the four-month-old protest movement. Riot police raided the station after scuffles between protesters and other passengers.

Subsequent accusations of police violence and official cover-ups have fueled weeks of vigils and rallies at the station and helped inspire widespread vandalism of properties owned by rail operator MTR Corp.

“Do you know when we got beaten up, the MTR staff looked at us and didn’t do anything?” Ng said. “I like CUHK. I wish this home can give us true care and protect us.”

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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