A 76-year-old man has been arrested at the airport in connection with the indecent assault of Hong Kong athlete Vera Lui.

In November, the hurdler posted on Facebook saying that a former coach at her school touched her private parts under the guise of a “massage” when she was in junior secondary school.

Vera Lui. Photos: Facebook.

According to local media, the police approached Lui after she made the post and asked her to make a statement. A man connected with the case was arrested at the airport on Sunday afternoon as he returned from the mainland. He was reportedly suspected of indecent assault and was a former track coach.

After he complained of feeling sick, he was taken to the hospital and has since been discharged. The man was released on bail and is required to report to the police in early February.

The case is being handled by the Kowloon City district crime squad.

‘#MeToo’ post

The coach was previously suspended by two of his employers – Pui Ching Middle School and the Watsons Athletic Club.

Lui had only told one close friend about the incident, but said she was inspired to speak out by Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney, who was one of the women accusing USA Gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar of sexual abuse. Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in jail last week.

Posting with the #MeToo hashtag, Lui said that she plucked up the courage to talk about the incident in order to raise awareness of sexual assault against children, to encourage other victims to speak out, and to let the public to understand that such issues were not something to be embarrassed about or ashamed of.

Photo: Facebook.

Lui said that, although she did not know of any similar incidents, she believed that there were other victims in the world of Hong Kong athletics, and encouraged them to seek help.

Her revelations led to widespread public discussion, with Chief Executive Carrie Lam and Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu both urging her to come forward and make a police statement. Lam and other public figures also praised her for her bravery in speaking out.

Lui took home a gold medal at the 60m women’s hurdles during the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan last year.

Catherine Lai

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.