Sex assault victim breaks her silence to warn others

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 March, 2011, 12:00am

An expatriate woman who was the victim of a sexual assault in Mid-Levels has spoken out to warn women about the dangers of walking alone at night for fear her attacker could strike again, despite advice from the police not to bring attention to her case.

The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, says she was assaulted close to the Mid-Levels escalator in the Bonham Road area as she walked home in the early hours of New Year's Day after a night out in Lan Kwai Fong.

She fears her attacker, a Chinese male, may strike again and that women should know that Hong Kong is not as safe as most believe it to be.

'Like many women I felt Hong Kong was safe. I assumed it was safe. I was walking home because I couldn't get a cab when I was attacked,' she said. 'I am trying to get over what happened to me. But I don't want it to happen to other women. It has been three months now and my attacker is still out there.'

The woman, who is in her 30s, said police advised her not to talk to the press about the attack in case it alerted the assailant while the investigation was continuing. However, she felt she had to warn other women while this man was still on the loose.

'The police are doing a good job, but I feel I need to try to warn women about this. I would feel terrible if the same thing happened to another woman and I had kept quiet.'

Her warning comes as an e-mail is circulating among women in Hong Kong claiming there has been a series of sex attacks on expatriate women in the same area.

The e-mail talks of an attack on a woman at 9pm just off the escalator on Caine Road in the week beginning on March 7 and of gang rapes.

'According to the police, there have been three other incidents recently just off the escalator on Caine Road where the female victims were attacked by a group of guys who mugged and gang-raped the poor women,' the e-mail says.

'I have always thought that Hong Kong Island, especially Central, is very safe, but apparently not. Please be extra-careful, girls!!'

The victim of the New Year's Day attack says she was also told by the detective handling her case there had been two other attacks on women in the same area within three months, but on both occasions the men who carried out the attacks were caught.

A police spokeswoman confirmed there had been a reported 'indecent assault' on New Year's Day but declined to comment on whether the e-mail was a hoax or contained some truth, except to say police had not received any other reports of sex attacks in the same area over the past year. 'There is also no evidence or information that showed the attack was done by a serial attacker or a gang,' she said.

'Apart from the above case, police have not received other sexual reports, including indecent assault and rape, in the vicinity, either before or after the occurrence of the above indecent-assault case.'

When questioned by the Sunday Morning Post about the other attacks mentioned by the detective investigating the case, the spokeswoman said police could not check their records without more precise details of the attack, such as a date.

She added: 'Please rest assured that active investigation and aggressive actions are being taken by police to detect the above indecent-assault case and have the culprit brought to justice.

'In addition, proactive measures, including stepping up patrols, are being taken by police to prevent a recurrence.

'We are fully committed to maintaining Hong Kong as a safe and stable city. Members of the public are also encouraged to report crime to police.'

The victim said she had no complaints about the police but still felt she needed to warn other women.

'I think the police think this was just a one-off, and I hope they are right. But if I had been aware of any danger at the time, I would not have walked home on my own.'

There were 1,448 cases of indecent assault and 112 rapes in Hong Kong in 2010, compared with 1,318 indecent assaults and 136 rapes in 2009.

Women at risk

There were this many rapes reported in the city last year, down from 136 in 2009: 112