Hong Kong prosecutors to follow up allegation that police officer had sex with Korean during anti-vice operation

Case came up as Korean make-up artist was jailed for six weeks for breaching condition of stay in city by offering sexual services

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 March, 2017, 8:01am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 March, 2017, 3:54pm

The Department of Justice on Monday expressed concern over an allegation that a police officer had sex with a Korean make-up artist during an anti-vice operation in Hong Kong.

The claim emerged earlier this month in Kowloon City Court after Lee Jung-ha admitted that she breached her condition of stay by joining a business as a sex worker.

She was jailed for six weeks on Monday after pleading guilty to one count of breach of conditions of stay.

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Her case was originally scheduled for a special hearing to clarify the facts of the case on which her conviction would be based.

But on Monday, the parties agreed to handle the case differently by modifying the brief facts to avoid the allegation that sexual intercourse was involved as it would not affect her offence.

However, senior public prosecutor Franco Kuan Bak-on noted: “Given the severity of the case, the Department of Justice will follow up.”

Police officers are not allowed to receive oral sex or engage in full sexual intercourse during decoy operations.

Principal magistrate Peter Law Tak-chuen said it was not the court’s role to conduct an investigation, but the facts had to be clarified to support the conviction.

The court heard that the officer became a decoy during an anti-vice operation on March 6 and sent a message to a man through social media to ask for a sex worker.

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The next day, the man brought Lee to a hotel room in the Holiday Inn Express Hong Kong Kowloon East in Tseung Kwan O.

Lee offered sexual services and the officer paid her HK$4,000 in marked bills.

She was later arrested at another hotel, and the money was retrieved from the man.

An earlier version of the facts claimed the officer made up an excuse and asked Lee to leave the hotel room when she offered the service.

But Lee told the court through interpreters at the previous hearing that she spent more than an hour with the officer in the hotel room, during which they talked, drank beer and had sex.

Lee entered Hong Kong on March 3 using her passport and was allowed to stay in the city for 90 days as a tourist. Her condition of stay did not allow her to work or join in any business.

The defence said in mitigation that Lee knew she was wrong and wished to go home as soon as possible.

In reply to questions from the Post, the police said there was a set of clear and strict guidelines regulating decoy operations involving vice activities. In particular, senior officers would assess the need for a decoy operation and strictly monitor the extent of bodily contact needed between a decoy officer and a sex worker in gathering sufficient evidence for prosecution.