• Sun
  • Sep 21, 2014
  • Updated: 12:27pm

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.




For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

the right-wing blame the victim has come to HK
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.
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.
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?
Secretary Lai's comment is careless and because he is a public official he SHOULD be scrutinized by the people. Sure you can interpret it however you want and more power to you if it informs you that men are also in danger of drinking too much, but that is not what Secretary Lai said. IF he meant to point out that hiding drugs in a drink is a common way for a rapist to trick their victim, then he should clarify his point. But to point out that only women are in danger by drinking too much is really silly. This outdated way of speaking about women with a different standard seems similar but less extreme to the Japanese politician who said comfort women were a necessity in WWII.
I can't believe that someone in SCMP articles actually thinking realistically! Well said! Most of the people just whine and whine... Of course it is the rapist's guilt when he rapes but you have to take every precaution for defending yourself. No person is perfect, therefore you can't expect a perfect society.
Dai Muff
A child SHOULD be able to take candy from a stranger. I SHOULD be able to leave my car in a street with the windows open and the keys in. What does SHOULD have to do with it? To say rapists should not rape is as dumb as saying child abusers should not molest children and car thieves should not steal cars. To take sensible advice is not the same as blaming the victim.
look like who speak for the rapist?
it's totally blame the victim
i hope that you and your relative dont get rape
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.
Did Lai say "Rape is OK"? He is merely pointing out that avoiding booze can spare people from getting into trouble. In no way is he condoning rape. And I will go one step further than him. Yes, rape is OK if the person's way of dressing and behavior amounts to visual harassment or even visual assault. Everyone has the right to self-defence.




SCMP.com Account