A fitness coach convicted of molesting a female student said he was just giving “a hug of love” to the victim by wrapping his arms around her breasts.

Chan Hon-ming, 33, was sentenced to three weeks in prison at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts on Thursday for an indecent assault on the student in July last year.

indecent assault
The Eastern Law Courts Building.

Chan wrapped his arms around the victim from behind for a few seconds after a private class with her at the Hayabusa Martial Arts and Fitness Centre in Central, the court found.

The defendant told the court he was just giving the student”a hug of love” as encouragement, according to local newspaper Ming Pao.

Chan pleaded for leniency, saying the case has severely harmed his professional reputation and that he is unlikely to continue to work in the fitness industry after being let go by his employer.

But the judge turned down the request, saying Chan’s assault has caused psychological harm to the victim, who suffers from depression.

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.