Mainland Chinese police officers suspended over mishandling of Hong Kong director Sharon Lam’s attempted rape report against trainee pilot

Lam contacted authorities last week after a man allegedly broke into her Hainan Island hotel room in his underwear and tried to sexually assault her

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 July, 2018, 10:55pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 July, 2018, 11:41pm

Mainland Chinese authorities have suspended the police officers who allegedly mishandled Hong Kong film director Sharon Lam Suk-ching’s report of attempted rape on Hainan Island last week.

The Qiongshan district public security bureau branch made the announcement on its Weibo account and said it had launched an investigation into the officers, but did not reveal how many had been suspended.

Lam, who was on the island working on an upcoming mainland television crime drama, Route, went to a local police station several hours after a man, later confirmed to be a trainee pilot, allegedly tried to rape her in the early hours of July 16.

It was claimed he had climbed into her 18th floor hotel room wearing only his underwear. She said she fought him off, chased him out of her room and called police.

But at the station, officers told her to settle the matter directly with the pilot, surnamed Bai, saying she was not familiar with mainland law. Lam said police did not take an official statement from her.

Several days later when she returned to the station to file an official police report, Lam said a representative from the airline advised her not to sue the man, saying it was costly to train a pilot.

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A police officer also told her that if she insisted on taking legal action, the man would file charges against her for attacking him as she had hit him, Lam said.

Shortly after Lam released her statement on Monday, Haikou’s public security branch said it was looking into the conduct of its officers and that its police disciplinary inspection department had launched an investigation.

Tenky Tin Kai-man, the chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers’ executive committee, said on Thursday the public bureau was supposed to follow normal procedures.

“Now they do things following the procedures and that’s what they should have been doing from the beginning. I can’t see any reason why they did not follow [procedure],” Tin said.

Tin said he had been in contact with Lam every day since the she reported the incident. Lam, who has since returned to Hong Kong, decided to drop out of the filming. She had not yet recovered emotionally from the incident, Tin said, and was getting support from her peers and family.

Mainland lawyers appointed by the federation were also helping her. But she was considering whether she needed to handle the case by herself, or if she could authorise the lawyers to handle it for her.