Hong Kong fitness manager cleared of attacking girlfriend after injuries fail to match claims she took severe beating

Woman told court she was repeatedly slapped, punched and kicked, but doctor found only ‘mild’ marks on her body

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 October, 2016, 8:18pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 October, 2016, 10:45pm

A fitness chain manager accused of slapping his girlfriend more than 50 times and threatening to post her nude photos on the internet if she called police, walked free from court on Wednesday.

Cheng Ka-wai, 38, was cleared of a string of charges after the District Court found that the injuries on his girlfriend, referred to in court as X to protect her identity, failed to match the punishment she claimed to have sustained.

The woman testified in the trial earlier that on April 5, 2014 – the last of the three occasions she was allegedly assaulted – she was repeatedly slapped, punched and kicked at their Cheung Sha Wan flat.

“If that were so, one would expect her to have a very swollen face with obvious marks,” Judge Josiah Lam Wai-kuen said in his written judgment handed down on Wednesday.

I am not prepared to speculate X’s motives for her much-deferred complaints
Judge Josiah Lam Wai-kuen

But the judge noted the photographic evidence indicated otherwise, and a doctor who treated X described her injuries as mild.

“That is not consistent with the alleged severity of X’s account,” Lam wrote.

The court also heard earlier that even though the alleged attacks began as early as 2011, X did not call police until October 2014 – two months before Cheng married another woman.

Lam wrote: “I am not prepared to speculate X’s motives for her much-deferred complaints: whether she filed the reports because she wants justice ... or merely to seek revenge on the man’s lust, unfaithfulness, marrying someone ...”

The judge said he found it hard to believe that X knew nothing about the marriage and claimed that she only found out during the trial.

Lam called her a “highly prejudiced witness” who had failed to tell the whole truth and had shifted her evidence in court when prompted.

Cheng – who had denied three counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, four of criminal intimidation and one of false imprisonment – said after the verdict that he was glad justice was done.

“All the boys out there should be careful when meeting girls,” he said.

During the trial, the court heard X, also a fitness trainer, moved in with her superior Cheng in 2007. The pair worked in the Whampoa and Wan Chai branches of a fitness chain, though its name was not disclosed to protect X’s identity.

She testified earlier that the first assault took place in March 2011. She alleged that she was also beaten in August 2013, and again on April 5, 2014.

X claimed that each time Cheng threatened to upload her nude photos onto the internet if she called police.

On April 5, X’s mother alleged she got a call from Cheng, who said he would beat X to death.

The judge refused to accept the mother’s account, saying that she would have called for help from relatives immediately had it been true, which she did not do.