A pastor at the Brotherly Love Swatow Baptist Church surnamed Ngai has been accused of harassing and sexually assaulting multiple attendees of the Church, including underage women. The accusations came to light in a social media post last Thursday.

In the Facebook post, the author said she started attending the church at ten years old, and was a member of the congregation for 17 years. She said that, when she was a teenager, the pastor was in charge of the teenage fellowship and repeatedly asked women to engage in intimate relations with him over a number of years. She also said he had previously been publicly accused of sexual harassment, but resumed his behaviour after offering an insincere apology.

Brotherly Love Swatow Baptist Church pastor sexual assault
The online post detailing the specifics of sexual assault. Photo: Facebook.

“I don’t want to be the accomplice of this animal of a pastor, and make his victims suffer further. That’s why I will confront the problems in my Church and not stay silent, and be brave for the victims. I hope you will support me with your love and trust,” the post read.

The author included the hashtag #meetoo and #churchtoo. On online platforms such as Twitter, victims of sexual crimes have used the hashtags to signal solidarity and identify with a global movement to highlight sexual harassment and abuse.

The social media post included a picture of the pastor but did not identify him by name. The post has since been deleted.

Response from the Church

The Brotherly Love Swatow Baptist Church issued a statement on Friday saying that it had received complaints concerning the pastor and was looking into them. Referring to the pastor by name, the Church also said he was no longer a member of staff.

Brotherly Love Swatow Baptist Church statement 22/6/2018
An online statement by the Brotherly Love Swatow Baptist Church on June 22. Photo: Church website.

The Church added in the statement that the pastor had contacted the police, and the matter was under police investigation.

The pastor told Christian Times, a local religious publication, on Friday that he was “deeply sorry” for his inappropriate actions, and that he was fired from the church in May. He said he hoped to “show his apology by going through the legal process.”

The police confirmed to HKFP that a man contacted the police on Friday, though no arrest had been made. The case was listed as “person seeking police investigation” and is being handled by the Wong Tai Sin District Crime Squad.

Ngai’s case is the second high-profile incident of sexual assault in churches to surface in recent months. In April, it was reported that a clergyman at the Hong Kong Anglican Church sexually assaulted two male churchgoers in 2007.

Holmes Chan is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. He covers local news with a focus on law, politics, and social movements. He studied law and literature at the University of Hong Kong.