The lawyers for a woman who accused officers of raping her inside Tsuen Wan police station have condemned the Commissioner of Police, saying he attempted to publicly discredit her and undermine her complaint.
In November, police confirmed that a woman filed a complaint to the force on October 22 alleging that she had been raped in the station. The 18-year-old woman – known only as “Ms X” – alleged that she was gang-raped and had to undergo an abortion as a result.
Police Commissioner Chris Tang said at a Central and Western District Council meeting last Thursday that the force was investigating Ms X’s case as an attempt to “mislead police” because the claim was inconsistent with video footage from the time of the alleged incident.
The remark was denounced by X’s legal representatives on Saturday as an effort to diminish the prospect of a successful prosecution: “Ms X considers that any objective observer would be driven to conclude that these public comments on her criminal complaint by the Commissioner of Police are an outrageous further attempt to publicly discredit her, publicly undermine her complaint and diminish any prospect of a successful prosecution. She considers such conduct should be condemned in the strongest terms,” solicitor Michael Vidler said in a statement.
“Ms X further believes that the actions of the police during the course of this supposedly confidential investigation evidences the lack of impartiality of this investigation by the police and displays a total disregard for her privacy and dignity as a criminal complainant and victim of rape.”
X learnt of a search warrant into her medical records – including those pre-dating the alleged incident – as well as CCTV footage from the clinic of her private doctor on November 4, and immediately challenged the warrant. The magistrate suspended the warrant and granted an anonymity order the next day. A court formally cancelled the warrant on November 28.
X’s lawyers previously accused the force of intentionally leaking selected details of X’s investigation to the media via the Police Public Relations Bureau and unidentified “police sources,” as well as making “adverse” public comments on the case.
Vidler & Co. Solicitors said that police have refused to provide updates on the progress of the investigation in contravention of the Hong Kong Police Victim’s Charter.
“No request has ever been made by police for Ms X to clarify any part of her victim statement nor has she been informed that her account of events is problematic,” the statement read.
“Despite frequent requests, she has not been told whether the report setting out the DNA sequence of her assailant(s) has been received by police from the government laboratory. She has not been informed of police seeking advice on the evidence from the Department of Justice and she has not been informed that the investigation into her complaint has been concluded.”
X, at the request of police, underwent a forensic medical examination and allowed a DNA sample to be taken from the aborted foetus to identify one of the assailants.
Police representative John Tse – who led the Police Public Relations Bureau before his retirement – allegedly told some news outlets privately that X “was a bit mental.” Tse later denied making the comments.