Hong Kong man in care home assault case arrested over separate molestation claim from 30 years ago

Former Bridge of Rehabilitation Company superintendent Cheung Kin-wah has been at centre of controversy over abuse of patients with mental disabilities

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 November, 2016, 8:02am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 November, 2016, 11:07pm

The former superintendent of a home for the mentally disabled who walked free after being ­accused of sexually assaulting a woman under his care was in ­police custody yesterday after being arrested over another sex-related attack more than three decades ago.

Cheung Kin-wah, who formerly ran the Bridge of Rehabilitation Company in Kwai Chung, was accused of sexually assaulting a 21-year-old woman in 2014, but escaped legal consequences as she was declared unfit to testify.

In a dramatic twist, a police spokesman said the arrest of Cheung was not related to the care home case, which sparked a ­public outcry when it came to light last month.

Initial investigations showed the woman in the latest case, who is visually impaired, was indecently assaulted when she attended a school for children needing special help on Hong Kong Island more than 30 years ago, according to a police source.

It is understood Cheung was working at the school at the time of the alleged assault.

“She reportedly told officers that she was indecently assaulted on four occasions between 1983 and 1986,” the source said.

The case came to light when the woman, who is now 41, made a report to police late last month.

Cheung, 55, was placed on the police wanted list as he was out of town and officers had failed to find him.

Cheung was picked up at the Lo Wu immigration control point when he returned to the city from Shenzhen on Sunday afternoon. The hooded and handcuffed suspect was then taken to his Tsueng Kwan O flat where officers searched for evidence.

Yesterday, he was released on bail and must report back later this month. No charges were made.

Cheung was previously ­acquitted in two molestation cases in the early 2000s.

They involved two residents with mental disabilities who were under Cheung’s care. The courts found their testimony to be ­contradictory.

The Department of Justice has come under fire for withdrawing the 2014 case despite evidence collected by police, including six pieces of tissue paper with Cheung’s semen and a mixture of bodily fluids from him and the woman on them.

Keith Yeung Kar-hung SC, the city’s director of public prosecutions, earlier defended the decision of the Department of Justice to drop the case and pledged to prepare a draft bill for a public consultation on the admissibility of hearsay evidence in criminal courts.

Democratic Party lawmaker Roy Kwong Chun-yu, who has been following the case, said he hoped justice would be done.

The temporary licence of the Bridge of Rehabilitation Company was revoked after it was hit by sex abuse claims and recorded five suspicious deaths in a year.

Meanwhile, the Social Welfare Department on Monday officially revoked the centre’s licence for failing to comply with care and management standards. The move was made after the centre chose not to file an appeal.

The department last week launched a series of measures to improve the quality of private care homes, ­including hiring retired police ­officers to inspect homes for the disabled.