Sexual harassment and assault

Hong Kong pastor admits ‘inappropriate’ behaviour after church-goer calls him ‘monster’ over sexual harassment claims

Ngai Lap-yin, who was fired from the Brotherly Love Swatow Baptist Church in Tsz Wan Shan, says he is ready to stand trial in court

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 June, 2018, 10:22pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 June, 2018, 10:13am

A Hong Kong pastor has admitted that he behaved “inappropriately” after a woman accused him on social media of abusing his position as a father figure among church-goers to sexually harass them.

Ngai Lap-yin, who was fired two months ago from the Brotherly Love Swatow Baptist Church in Tsz Wan Shan, confessed on Friday night that he had harmed “sisters” from his church and said he regretted his behaviour.

He told the Christian Times – a widely read publication among the city’s religious community – that he had made mistakes and already reported the “serious matter” to police on Thursday night, accompanied by another pastor.

To express his regret, Ngai said he was willing to stand trial in court. He was first suspended by the church for two weeks in May before eventually being fired in the same month, he added.

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The pastor made the confession after Facebook user Lai Siu-mei posted that Ngai, a “monster”, would build father-daughter relations with women from his church before making his overtures.

Lai wrote that Ngai told women it was not a problem for him, as a “father” figure, to see them exposed. She claimed he also told other female church-goers to sit on his lap and let him massage them.

Lai accused him of saying things such as “my wife is not home, come alone and play with me”. She also said he would tell them: “Come and sleep at my place.”

Every time I hear a hymn that God will protect you, I feel aggrieved
Lai Siu-mei, church-goer

Lai said she had attended the church for 17 years from the age of 10. Ngai was a founding member of the church, she added.

In her post, she also said Ngai once told her that those who had accused him of sexual harassment had mental problems.

“One victim has been relentless in her pursuit for justice,” Lai wrote. “That has led to other victims coming forward about what the monster pastor has also done to them.”

“Every time I hear a hymn that God will protect you, I feel aggrieved.”

The victims started coming forward since September last year, she wrote, without specifying how many there were.

The “#metoo” and “#churchtoo” hashtags were included in her post.

Earlier on Friday, the church said on its website it had received sexual harassment complaints against Ngai and was looking into the matter. It added that it would cooperate with police, who had launched an investigation.

A police spokesman told the Post that detectives from the Wong Tai Sin district crime squad were following up on the case.

Late Friday night, a source said police had already identified one victim, who was giving a statement. The woman, in her 30s, claimed Ngai molested her by touching her thigh at a gathering that took place outside the church community.

The source added that officers would make an arrest once they finished taking the statement.

The case is likely to be classified as indecent assault.