Request to investigate mainland sex case
Clifford Lo and Ng Kang-chung
Hong Kong police are seeking approval from mainland authorities to cross the border to collect evidence after the arrest of a Hong Kong social worker for allegedly indecently assaulting at least six girls in a Yunnan province orphanage.
The 47-year-old was arrested at his Hong Kong home in Siu Sai Wan on Thursday. He was released on bail of HK$10,000 and required to report back to police in mid-October.
'We have filed a request to the relevant mainland authorities through our liaison bureau to allow our officers to go to Yunnan province to collect evidence in connection with the case,' a police spokesman said.
He would not say whether Hong Kong police had asked to interview the girls allegedly involved.
The social worker, the founder of a Hong Kong-registered charity that has run an orphanage in Yunnan since 2004, told the South China Morning Post last week that 'his conscience is clear'. He said the accusations might have been made in revenge for him telling some badly behaved girls to leave the institution.
The allegations about his conduct at the orphanage in Menghai county were reported in a Yunnan newspaper, which said at least six girls had been molested since 2004.
The orphanage was closed in the middle of this year after it was found to be operating without a permit.
The social worker said last week he did not have sex with the girls but might have gone to their bedroom at night to put blankets over them.
Hong Kong police began to investigate the case after a volunteer who donated money to the charity heard of the alleged indecent assaults and informed police in July.
Legislator James To Kun-sun said it was not unusual for Hong Kong police to seek help from their counterparts on the mainland. 'This kind of co-operation between the police of two places is rather common. Obviously, there is no agreement between the two places for the transfer of suspects or fugitives. But if needed, the girls might come to Hong Kong to testify,' he said.