A Hong Kong court has revoked a search warrant granted to the police to seize the private medical records of a woman who accused officers of raping her inside a station.

Earlier this month, police confirmed that a woman filed a complaint to the force on October 22 alleging that she had been raped in Tsuen Wan Police Station. The woman – known only as “Ms X” – alleged that she was gang-raped and had to undergo an abortion in the aftermath.

File photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

On Tuesday, the court formally cancelled a search warrant into X’s medical records as well as CCTV footage from the clinic of her private doctor, following a November 5 order to temporarily suspend the warrant.

The move by law enforcement to seize X’s medical records – including those pre-dating her alleged sexual assault – was denounced by her lawyer as an “abuse of police power” and a “gross invasion of privacy.”

“Police took the extraordinary step of taking out the search warrant in respect of a victim of sexual violence in early November, without Ms X’s knowledge or consent. The police did so shortly after Ms X took the courageous step of filing a report to police about her rape inside Tsuen Wan Police Station,” Michael Vidler said in a statement on Wednesday.

“She had expected that her report would be investigated with impartiality, in strict confidence, and with respect for her privacy and dignity.”

X learnt of the existence of the search warrant on November 4 and immediately challenged the warrant in court. The magistrate suspended the search warrant the next day and granted an anonymity order, which continues to remain in effect.

John Tse. Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

Earlier this month, police representative John Tse – who at the time led the Police Public Relations Bureau – allegedly told some news outlets privately that X “was a bit mental.” Tse later denied making the comments.

Vidler said that the police were trying to discredit X’s accusation and diminish the prospect of a successful prosecution.

“The police investigating Ms X’s case appear to have systematically worked to discredit her and to undermine her complaint,” he said at the time. “Ms X considers that any attempt by police to publicly discredit a rape victim and adversely comment on evidence in an on-going investigation is despicable and offensive.”

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Holmes Chan

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.