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Hong Kong courts

Reverend from Baptist Convention of Hong Kong accused of molesting man in HK$100,000 sexual harassment case

Lam Sau-kwong, general secretary of the convention, is alleged to have touched claimant’s penis on several occasions during massage

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 May, 2018, 7:06am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 May, 2018, 9:27pm

The general secretary of a cooperative association of Baptist churches in Hong Kong is facing accusations of sexual harassment and claims amounting to HK$100,000 (US$12,700) for allegedly molesting a subordinate on multiple occasions in 2015.

In a writ filed to the District Court on Friday, the claimant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said Reverend Lam Sau-kwong from the Baptist Convention of Hong Kong abused his high position and the trust placed in him.

Lam is accused of repeatedly touching the man’s penis at their workplace in Mong Kok.

The claimant is demanding an apology on top of at least HK$100,000 in damages, interests and legal costs.

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According to the writ, the alleged assaults date back to early 2015, when the claimant reported having gastric problems and took leave from work. He said Lam then offered to massage his stomach over his clothes, claiming it might ease the problem.

Thinking the offer was made out of goodwill, the man said he did not refuse Lam.

The sessions occurred again in November and the claimant said Lam’s touch ventured lower and lower, saying the reverend unbuckled his pants for the massages.

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He also claimed Lam touched his penis on several occasions. But he said he did not resist as Lam would apologise, as if the contact had been unintentional.

On December 11, 2015, Lam was said to have offered his subordinate another massage and put his hands inside the man’s underwear, touching the tip of his penis multiple times before pulling down the garment to stare for several seconds.

The claimant said at the time his mind turned blank so he did not resist. According to the writ, Lam talked about work the whole time before buckling up the man’s pants after the session.

The commission hopes to raise public awareness that sexual harassment in the workplace is unlawful and will have serious legal consequences
Equal Opportunities Commission

The next day, the claimant said he intentionally maintained a distance from Lam when he was called over, but that did not stop Lam from pulling him closer and touching his penis again for two to three seconds.

The claimant said Lam’s alleged actions gravely damaged his personal dignity and left him “very offended and insulted”.

The man also said he has since lost sleep and became deeply distressed, helpless and at an emotional low, which made him reluctant to contact others and rendered him unable to concentrate at work.

Police received the complaint on January 12, 2016, after the claimant spoke to a colleague and friends within the church. But he said he gave up the case because he did not want to face the pressure of an investigation.

The investigation was terminated in July 2016, police said.

The man had also separately lodged a complaint to his employer on January 13, 2016.

Dissatisfied with its progress, he made a further complaint to the Equal Opportunities Commission, a statutory body responsible for implementing anti-discrimination ordinances and eliminating sexual harassment.

The present legal action was mounted with help from the watchdog, which said in a statement: “By taking this case to court, the commission hopes to raise public awareness that sexual harassment in the workplace is unlawful and will have serious legal consequences.”

The first hearing is scheduled on July 16.