A woman who accused officers of gang-raping her in a police station has defended her claim after the force announced plans to arrest her on suspicion of providing false information.
Her statement came a day after police chief Chris Tang revealed at a Yuen Long District Council meeting on Tuesday that the 19-year-old woman – known as “Ms X” – was facing arrest for allegedly misleading detectives. X has left Hong Kong and is now “wanted,” he said.
The force previously confirmed a woman filed a complaint with them on October 22 last year, alleging that she had been gang-raped by unknown officers in Tsuen Wan police station and had to undergo an abortion as a result. She allowed the taking of a DNA sample from the aborted foetus at the time to help identify at least one of the assailants, according to her lawyers.
The alleged incident occurred during months of pro-democracy unrest which saw thousands arrested and police accused of abusing their power to crack down on protesters.
‘Privacy and dignity’ breach
In a statement issued on her behalf by her legal representatives – Vidler & Co. Solicitors – Ms X accused Tang of intentionally publicising her case in a repeated attempt to discredit her.
“… I learnt from media reports that the Commissioner has publicly said that I am facing arrest for ‘making a false statement.’ He again chose to do so publicly, in a manner which any objective observer would be driven to conclude was directed at discrediting me,” it read.
“I hoped and prayed that the complaint would be investigated impartially, in strict confidence and with respect for my privacy and dignity. None of that has happened.”
On November 4 last year, police obtained a search warrant to seize Ms X’s medical records – including those pre-dating the alleged incident – as well as CCTV footage from her private doctor’s clinic without her consent, prompting her to mount a legal challenge.
The magistrate suspended the warrant and granted an anonymity order the next day. The court formally cancelled the warrant on November 28.
Tang said in January that Ms X was under investigation because her claim was inconsistent with video footage from the time of the alleged incident. The move was denounced by lawyers as an effort to diminish her prospects of a successful prosecution.
On April 6, the Department of Justice said her police report would not be taken any further citing contrary evidence, though Ms X has said she has not been provided with an opportunity to refute the claim.
Anyone who knowingly misleads or provides false information to the police shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of HK$1,000 and imprisonment for six months under the Police Force Ordinance.
Ms X expressed “distress” at having learnt about the police comments: “I have sought no publicity about my complaint. Nor have I politicised my complaint,” she said, adding her statement was only issued last November in response to leaked details of her case on the internet from “police sources.”
Correction 15.5.20: A previous version of the article incorrectly stated Ms X was 18 years old. She recently turned 19.
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