An 18-year-old woman in Hong Kong has published a statement via her representative law firm alleging that she was gang raped by a group of police officers while detained inside the Tsuen Wan police station.
The woman, who was only referred to as “Ms. X” in the statement, said she has filed a report with the police for a criminal investigation into her alleged rape.
She criticized the police for leaking information about her case to the media, accusing them of “discrediting” her and “diminishing any prospect of a successful prosecution.”
Hong Kong law firm Vidler & Co. Solicitors published a statement on behalf of Ms. X on its official Facebook page on Nov. 11, describing her allegations. The law firm is also representing the case of an Indonesian journalist who was shot in the eye with a police projectile.
According to the statement, Ms. X kept silent for several weeks after allegedly being raped by police. One day in October, she finally filed a police report. Sometime within this period, Ms. X discovered she was pregnant.
“She subsequently gave a detailed account of the events to police, answering extensive and highly invasive questions,” the statement read.
Following the police’s request, Ms. X underwent a forensic medical examination. Then, Ms. X terminated her pregnancy and permitted the forensic medical examiner to detect the DNA from the aborted fetus, to identify one or more of the alleged assailants.
In the past weeks, Ms. X “repeatedly asked police for updates on the case but the investigating team has refused to provide her with any details,” according to the statement. Furthermore Ms. X learned on Nov. 4 that police “obtained a search warrant to seize her private medical records, including those long pre-dating the allegations,” in addition to “CCTV footage from her private doctor’s clinic for a period of several days before and after the date of the alleged rape,” without notifying her.
“To seek to obtain a rape complainant’s private medical records without their knowledge and consent is a gross invasion of privacy,” the statement read.
Ms. X went to court to challenge the search warrant. On the morning of Nov. 5, the court suspended the search warrant immediately, and granted an anonymity order to prevent any person—including the press—from identifying Ms X, whether directly or indirectly.
She expected that the investigation “would be investigated with impartiality, in strict confidence, and with respect for her privacy and dignity,” but “police have deliberately leaked supposed details of the case,” she said.
Police sources were cited in several recent media reports about her case.
Hong Kong police also revealed at a Nov. 11 press conference Ms. X’s age, and that Ms. X alleged the gang rape occurred on Sept. 27, by four riot police officers.
In a Nov. 10 report, local pro-Beijing newspaper Ming Pao, citing Hong Kong police, revealed that Ms. X’s lawyer filed the police report on Oct. 22, after Ms. X discovered she was pregnant upon a checkup at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
The report claimed that there were no clashes between protesters and police in the Tsuen Wan neighborhood on Sept. 27. It also claimed that the Tsuen Wan police station does not have riot police stationed there.
The report questioned whether the young woman was truly pregnant, and quoted police sources that said the police force was investigating whether the woman had filed a false case.
Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily reported on Nov. 11 that John Tse Chun Chung, chief superintendent of Hong Kong police public relations branch, told an unnamed media that Ms. X “had mental illness.”
Ming Pao quoted Tse in a Nov. 11 report, in which he confirmed that a young woman received an abortion operation at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. But he refused to respond to his comments about Ms. X’s mental health.
Ms. X’s case has further triggered anger among protesters, who initially opposed the government’s decision to table a controversial extradition bill that would allow mainland China to transfer criminal suspects for trial in Communist Party-controlled courts.
Though the government announced the bill’s formal withdrawal in September, protesters continue to take to the streets to demand that police be investigated for their use of force and that the government enact reforms to allow for universal suffrage.