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  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 6:31pm

Lai Tung-kwok rape comments

Hong Kong's Secretary for Security, Lai Tung-kwok, sparked outrage from women's groups over comments he made on May 14, 2012, when announcing a sharp rise in the number of rapes in the first quarter of that year. "Some of these cases also involved the victims being raped after drinking quite a lot of alcohol. So I would appeal that young ladies should not drink too much,' he said as he reported the government's Fight Crime Committee statistics.

NewsHong Kong

Security chief Lai Tung-kwok denies blaming rape victims

Women's groups have called on the security chief to apologise for suggesting women should drink less to avoid being raped

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 May, 2013, 4:29pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 May, 2013, 7:37pm


  • Yes: 75%
  • No: 25%
16 May 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 305

Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said on Thursday he had no intention of putting the blame on rape victims when he earlier suggested women should drink less to avoid being assaulted.

Lai is facing calls from outraged women’s groups to apologise over the remarks he made on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, he said some rape cases involved victims being raped after drinking a lot of alcohol and “so I would appeal that young ladies should not drink too much.”

On Thursday, Lai explained that these remarks were made in response to media inquiries and that he did not intend to lay responsibility on the victims.

“I had no intention whatsoever of putting the blame on the victims,” he said on Thursday afternoon.

“I really hope that if there are any victims, they will bravely come forward," he said. "Police will do their best to catch their attackers and bring them to justice.”

The security chief also said he had received several emails regarding his remarks and the opinions expressed in them made hime feel "very uneasy”.

“I will humbly listen to these opinions,” he said.

Women's groups have called on the security chief to apologise for suggesting women should drink less to avoid being raped.

They said Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok had shown his ignorance and was putting the blame on the victim instead of the attacker.

Linda Wong Sau-yung, a leading campaigner against sexual violence, said she was outraged.

Women do not get raped because they drink too much alcohol. In many cases, they are raped because they have too much trust in their friends who rape them
Linda Wong Sau-yung of the Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women

"Women do not get raped because they drink too much alcohol," said Wong, of the Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women. "In many cases, they are raped because they have too much trust in their friends who rape them."

Liu Ngan-fung, a spokeswoman for Forthright Caucus, which campaigns on women's issues, said Lai was adding insult to the victims' injury.

Lai's remarks on Tuesday came as statistics from the government's Fight Crime Committee showed that rapes in the first three months of this year were up on the same period last year. The number increased almost 60 per cent to 35 cases.

Speaking after he attended the committee's meeting on Tuesday, Lai said all of the cases happened between people who knew each other.

"They are either friends, close friends or they just met a few hours ago," he said. "Some of these cases also involved the victims being raped after drinking quite a lot of alcohol. So I would appeal that young ladies should not drink too much."

Wong said Lai should withdraw the comments. "He was discouraging the victims from reporting the abuse," she said, citing a study by another group that said the actual number of rapes could be up to seven times the number reported.

Liu asked whether Lai was saying that women should not go out at night and should not drink alcohol. "Instead of putting the blame on the victim, he should step up effort to arrest the rapists. Did he mean that the victims deserve to get raped?" she asked.

Liu Pui-shan, director of the Hong Kong Federation of Women's Centres, was also outraged. "It's like blaming the banks for putting too much money inside the vaults if they get robbed."

The remarks went viral on Wednesday as web users united to condemn Lai. Angry Twitter and Facebook users reposted the comments several hundred times. 

"Hong Kong Secretary for Security advises that 'young ladies not drink too much' after rise in rapes. Or, gosh, maybe tell men not to rape?” Hong Kong-based Twitter user Miss O’Kistic said on her feed.

"Doesn't matter if the woman has been drinking or dressing 'provocatively'. Rape and Sexual Violence against Women are never ok!!” Facebook user Noreen Mir wrote on the wall of protest group SlutWalk Hong Kong.

A spokesman for the Security Bureau said Lai had not intended to blame rape victims, and only wanted to highlight the ways in which culprits took advantage of their victims.




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This article is now closed to comments

Think of it this way. You are a father of a 18 year daughter. Your daughter goes out drinking every Friday night in questionable clothing and comes back at 2am drunk.
Would you not stay up late worried? Would you not ask her to dress more sensibly? Would you not ask her to drink less? Would you not warn her to be careful as there are bad men out there who could possibly rape her?
Of course you would. You would say the exact same thing as Lai Tung Kwok.
Not because you blame her or think badly of her. But because you love her and want her to be safe. If it was your daughter you would agree 100%.
So we should stop hacking on every word said by a government official or we will just end up with people who talk allot and say nothing.
Lai Tung seems to be a decent guy who gives ok advice. At least he tries.
Why should he come under fire when the statement he made about women being careful on how much they drink is sensible..........whether it's a man or woman, once they drink too much, the mind is clouded and any immoral action such as sexxual attack or such has more potential to occur.........a woman will find it hard to defend herself from a predator if she drinks too much so the best thing to do is to stay away from the booze unless it is privately at home or with a significant other............why are HK'ers still so ignorant and try to attack every sensible comment that is made?
I agree with IRDHK below, and I'd like to explain why I agree in a bit. First I'd like to say, in response to someone else below, that I don't think it's quite right to equate warning girls to stop getting drunk in order to avoid being raped with simply carrying money and then getting robbed.
To me, a more accurate comparison would be warning people to e.g. lock their doors and close their windows when they leave their houses, to avoid being robbed. Sure, we should have every right to leave our windows open, let in some fresh air or whatever (in a country other than HK perhaps!), it's our house, we should be able to do what we want with it. But we don't, because we don't want to increase the likelihood of being burgled.
So, of course rape isn't acceptable, it's not the girl's fault, it shouldn't ever happen, and girls should have the right to drink, but at the same time, she can still take measures to prevent it from occurring, just as we do with locking our doors when we leave the house. At the risk of sounding repetitive, if someone was burgled, then revealed they left their windows open, yeah it's a shame, but surely everyone would think, 'Well, what did you expect?'
Lastly, just want to remind everyone that it isn't a perfect world, so no, we can't just do as we please and expect nothing negative to ever happen to us. It just doesn't work that way, unfortunately. I'm not against freedom, but we should also be realistic with how much freedom we should all have.
He is just making a suggestion to reduce the chances of getting raped..........when intoxicated, it is very difficult to defend yourself.........he is not telling women not to drink..........gees, some of these women groups react so negatively to a constructive comment............Give the guy a break.
Give the Secretary credit for trying to minimize rape cases by pointing out a trap often used by rapists and that victims should be on guard and avoid the trap.
He is just warning potential victims (ladies) that drinking alcohol is a trap which rapists use to intoxicate the victims. There is no point telling the rapists not to use drinking as a trap.
Ignorant seems to be a big word, eh? Rape is not OK. This is a simple, simple message that needs to be said. We have zero tolerance for rape. There, another simple message. To commit a crime like this is not okay in a civilized society we live in. A woman (or a man even in this case) should be able to wear whatever the heck she so wants, drink however much she so wants and be treated with respect. What your message is basically saying that to rape someone is okay so long as the situation allows.
Dai Muff
The one crime on which it is impossible to talk sense is rape. I do not flash money in poor areas. I do not carry an expensive camera in poor areas when travelling. I do not walk into a crowd of drunken football or rugby supporters wearing colours of another team. I advise children not to take candies from strangers or get in their cars. I keep my wallet away from pickpockets in tourist destinations. I do not leave my car in the street with windows open and keys in the ignition. All these seem sensible precautions. Except when you are talking about rape, when advising people to take precautions gets drowned out by screams of "blaming the victim".
Talking about how criminals SHOULD NOT steal, beat up, molest, or murder, is entirely beside the point.
my new life in asia
I had a similar discussion with my ex Mandarin teacher in Taipei. She said that if a girl wears sexy clothes it's her own fault if they if she gets raped. I will never understand the double standards of people who blame girls but not the person who raped them. It's the rapist who is the criminal!
Following the same logic, if I make someone angry and I get stabbed it's my fault; and if I carry money with me and get robbed it's my fault, etc. It's simply ridiculous. Someone who commits a crime must bear the whole and sole responsibility for this crime. Drinking or wearing sexy clothes are not crimes. The minister expressed the typical sexist view of those who prefer to blame women instead of condemning guys who can't control themselves.
Dai Muff
It's remarkable that if men get too drunk in a Wanchai bar, get their credit cards misused, get charged thousands of dollars for a few drinks, the very same people who are so outraged about this suggestion to women will say it is all their own fault. The criminal is always the guilty one, no one should ever "blame" the victim, but advice about protecting yourself is not an infringement on your freedoms. Not if you have any sense.
One more of those Asian men who look down on women and have double standards. Totally unacceptable for a Hong Kong official. Even in China he would be criticized.



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