Police warn women against self-defence
FRIGHTENED Tuen Mun women are being warned in a series of seminars organised by the police against using self-defence tactics which might provoke potential attackers into violence.
The Crime Prevention Bureau has organised 27 sessions this week to teach residents how to avoid being victims of rape in the wake of six attacks in the area in the past year. Two victims were killed.
The talks, the first of which started yesterday, are presented by women staff officers to groups of between 15 and 20 women at the three estates which have been hit by the serial rapist.
A group of 16 female bureau officers was drawn from all over the territory, given a crash course on Tuen Mun and sent to the area to dispense advice.
Bureau staff officer Superintendent Graham Lander said: ''The advantage my girls have is they are not uniformed branch and they're not there to detect crime. They are there to tell other women how to avoid being attacked and what to do if they are attacked.'' Women who attend the seminars will be told to be as passive as possible in the event of an attack, to run as soon as the opportunity arises and to scream when there's a chance.
''We are strongly advising against self-defence tactics, because that could be extremely dangerous if people are not properly trained,'' Mr Lander said.
''It could also provoke more violence on the part of the attacker.
''What we want to do is to get women to pay a little more attention to their surroundings and people around them. We want to encourage women who have been attacked to feel they can tell another woman about it in confidence, without the entire estate being able to identify her.'' Slightly fewer than the target group of 20 women yesterday showed up for the three sessions, which were advertised as strictly for women. Men and the media were refused admission. Those who attended represented a wide age range including some women in their 60s or 70s.
Mr Lander said: ''Our main aim is to build a trust between the women residents, who are understandably frightened, and us, whom they've blamed for everything bad that's happened to them.
''Part of the antagonism is our fault. We should have been doing this sort of thing a long time ago, and there's no denying the culprit hasn't been caught yet.'' Mr Lander said he was astonished to discover after abuse was heaped on the police following the latest murder a fortnight ago, that steps taken by the force consisted of uniformed male officers giving talks to mixed audiences.
''That's not exactly calculated to inspire a woman who may have been attacked to come forward and share the experience,'' he conceded.
Mr Lander said he tried to interest the Housing Department months ago in a slightly modified version of the closed-circuit television system in use at Mei Foo Sun Chuen, a private development in Kowloon.
''All you can get with it is the inside of a lift compartment in your particular block,'' he said.
''But it can be installed very quickly and what's wrong with trying it out in Tuen Mun? I mean, if cost is really found to be a prohibitive factor after a six-month trial, the Government could always bin the idea.''