More than 100 demonstrators rallied outside Hong Kong’s police headquarters in Wan Chai on Sunday to protest against a decision to jail a female protester for assaulting a police officer with her breasts.

Thirty-year-old Ng Lai-ying was sentenced to three months and 15 days behind bars on Thursday after being convicted of assaulting Chief Inspector Chan Ka-po at an anti-parallel trader protest on March 1.

civic party bowring
Civic Party lawmaker Claudia Mo tells protesters at a rally outside Wan Chai Police HQ “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes a duty.” Photo: Figo Chan.

Demonstrators arrived outside Hong Kong’s police headquarters sporting bras and chanting “breasts are not weapons!” and “shame on the government!”

Among those attending the rally was League of Social Democrats lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung, also known as “Long Hair”.

“I don’t think it’s fair. I think it is a serious attack on human rights in the first place, and most importantly it’s an attack on women’s rights,” he said. “Any woman on this earth, if she feels that she has been sexually harassed, she should shout, she should expose it. So why should a woman be severely punished for that?”

Wearing a white bra on top of a t-shirt, Leung told HKFP that arguments made by the prosecution were “totally unacceptable.”

Leung Kwok-hung
Leung Kwok-hung from the League of Social democrats told HKFP that Ng Lai-ying’s sentencing is an attack on women’s rights. Photo: InMedia.

Similarly, Civic Party lawmaker Claudia Mo said the magistrate’s decision was “absurd” and “ridiculous.”

“As a woman legislator in Hong Kong, I feel the obligation to be here to show at least some moral support to the whole thing. The absurdity is just unspeakable… I don’t think we should be here to try to influence court decisions. I normally would say ‘I disagree with the verdict yet I respect the verdict’. But this time I couldn’t.”

alex kwok siu-kit
Male protesters also turned up to the rally wearing bras in support of Ng Lai-ying. Photo: Eva Ho.

Eleanor Lam, a freelance consultant taking part in the protest, told HKFP she was worried that Ng’s sentencing would “deter women’s participation in the civic society and the political participation as well.”

yellow warning banner hong kong
Police unfurl warning banners. Photo: Resistance Live, via Facebook.

Nicknamed the “Yuen Long Four”, the group were arrested at the beginning of March during an anti-parallel trading protest. During the scuffles, Ng told the court that she instinctively shouted “indecent assault” after the chief inspector reached out his arm for the strap of Ng’s bag and ended up touching the upper part of her left breast.

The magistrate overseeing the case, Michael Chan Pik-kiu, dismissed Ng’s allegations, saying they had caused great harm to the officer’s reputation.

breast assault protest
Photo: Figo Chan, via Facebook.

Chan also claimed that, after the four were convicted, he was threatened and feared for his safety. However, he did not clarify who had threatened him and why.

breast demo
Retired teacher James Hon (left) shows support for Ng. Photo: Figo Chan, via Facebook

Ng was sentenced alongside three co-defendants. Twenty-year-old Kwong Chung-hung was handed five months and one week in a detention centre, 22-year-old Poon Tsz-hang was sentenced to five months and three weeks in prison, and a 14-year-old defendant will also be sent to a rehabilitation centre for an indeterminate period of time. All four pleaded not guilty to obstructing police. Lawyers representing the defendants are appealing.

Vicky Wong

Vicky Wong

Vicky is a British-born Chinese journalist with three years of experience covering UK politics. She previously worked for PoliticsHome and has interned at Sky News and CNN International. She also co-produced and filmed a documentary about the Hong Kong protests for MSNBC, which won the grand student prize at the 2015 Human Rights Press Awards. She has a BA in Politics and International Relations from the University of Reading and moved to Hong Kong in 2014 to complete a journalism masters at the University of Hong Kong.