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.
Demonstrators arrived outside Hong Kong’s police headquarters sporting bras and chanting “breasts are not weapons!” and “shame on the government!”
Photo op outside and police HQ at breast assault protest pic.twitter.com/qhhpvioH8k
— Vicky Wong 黃瑋殷 (@vickywong710) August 2, 2015
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.