California Fitness staff ‘told Hong Kong man he looked like a frog’ after he intervened in acts of racial discrimination towards friend

Writ also alleged staff had made false accusations that he failed to comply with gym rules and took unauthorised video footage of his private parts

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 May, 2016, 10:53pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 May, 2016, 10:53pm

A gym-goer allegedly victimised by staff members of one of the city’s biggest fitness chains after he stood up for his African friend subjected to racial harassment, is contemplating an injury claim against the gym, a court heard yesterday.

Raymond Chen is already suing JV Fitness, trading as California Fitness, on racial discrimination grounds after he allegedly turned into a target of harassment himself for helping the friend out.

The friend was greeted with racial discrimination by two other staff members on multiple occasions, prompting Chen to assist him to file a complaint in 2010, according to Chen’s writ.

The writ added that since then Chen has also become a victim, with staff from the gym likening him to a “frog”, making false accusations and “making unauthorised video” of his private parts.

Yesterday, Chen told the District Court, which heard his racial discrimination claims in a preliminary hearing, that he was considering a medical check for an additional injury claim.

He also told judge Alex Lee Wan-tang that he was contemplating whether to demand the fitness firm reveal their defence in further details.

Lee adjourned the hearing until June 21. According to the writ, a year after his altruistic move, Chen’s membership was terminated in 2011.

He claimed he managed to have it reinstated after another case he lodged on the same racial grounds headed for a settlement.

But since his return to the gym, he experienced a string of abuse, including being stalked by staff dispatched by the fitness centre, the writ said.

The remark that he resembled a frog was made in February, along with false accusations that he failed to comply with the gym rules. He alleged these were attempts to single him out.

He also encountered “multiple acts of violence and threats of bodily harm”by staffs of the gym chain, the writ alleged.

Chen wants the court to say JV Fitness has committed and aided acts of discrimination against him and award damages.