Alleged rape of stewardess probed

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 March, 2012, 12:00am


Police are investigating the alleged rape of a flight stewardess by a pilot when the crew of the airline they work for were staying at a five-star hotel in Hong Kong.

The stewardess and the pilot, who are both British, were among a group of around 20 flight crew staying at the hotel in Kowloon when the incident took place in February last year after a flight from London.

The stewardess, who claimed the pilot raped her in his room in the hotel during a stopover, did not initially report the alleged rape to police in Hong Kong but complained to police in Britain after flying back the following day. British police referred the case to Hong Kong police, telling the stewardess they did not have jurisdiction over the matter. The stewardess gave a detailed statement to police in September when she next flew to the city.

The incident came to light after the stewardess began legal action for sex discrimination against her employers - one of the world's top airlines - for their handling of the incident.

In evidence to an employment tribunal she says the pilot was treated more favourably than she was. Because of the legal action in London, neither the airline nor the hotel can be identified.

The pilot was initially suspended by the airline when the stewardess reported the incident but was later allowed back to work. He has since been placed under suspension again.

At a pre-hearing review last week, the stewardess - identified only as Miss D - told a judge she had been told she should change her duty if she found herself on the same flight as the pilot.

She told a tribunal judge last week she felt she had been treated unjustly by her employers and was in constant fear of the pilot.

'He was allowed to return to work with no restrictions,' she said. 'I was told I was not allowed access to his rosters to make sure I would not be on the same flight as him and was advised if we were on the same flight I should leave as that would be the best course of action.

'I felt he was treated more favourably because he's a male pilot and I'm a female cabin crew member.'

A lawyer for the pilot denied Miss D had been raped, saying they had kissed in a taxi before going to his hotel room together. 'Whatever occurred inside that room was outside the course of both of their employment,' he said.

'It was in Hong Kong, out of duty, in a hotel room which they had gone to consensually.'

A full tribunal hearing on Miss D's claims of sexual discrimination is due to take place in September.

A Hong Kong police spokeswoman said: 'Hong Kong police received a referral in May 2011 from police in the United Kingdom on a case in which an expatriate woman was reportedly raped on February 26, 2011.'

An officer involved in the case said the Department of Justice was being consulted over whether there was enough evidence to proceed with a case.