image

Hong Kong courts

Two Hong Kong teenagers sent to juvenile centres after sexual assault on 14-year-old girl ‘only seen in movies’

  • Magistrate sends pair to reform facilities for shocking crime sparked by dispute over a boy and social media posts
PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 November, 2018, 4:36pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 November, 2018, 11:14pm

Two Hong Kong teenagers who sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl with a wooden chair leg, burned her hair and spat in her mouth in scenes a magistrate said could only be seen in movies were on Friday sentenced to time in juvenile reform facilities.

Tuen Mun magistrate Kelly Shui sent the younger of the two offenders, a 12-year-old girl still in primary school, to a correctional home where she will spend half of a two-year probation period.

The elder offender, a 15-year-old girl, was sentenced to time in a rehabilitation centre after Shui said she was more culpable for the crimes.

Shui said the punishments were far from sufficient to reflect the seriousness of the assault, but she would nevertheless follow the recommendations of a juvenile commission in sentencing.

The magistrate told the pair, who turned to violence after a dispute over a boy and social media posts, to treasure the leniency they had been afforded.

Their identities cannot be revealed for legal reasons.

Shui also blasted the parents of the elder girl during an emotional closed-door hearing in which the magistrate was told they were trying to find a school for their daughter overseas.

“The problem won’t go away just because you send her to Britain or America,” Shui said to the teary-eyed parents.

“The problem lies in whether you have spent time to teach her appropriately.”

Tuen Mun Juvenile Court earlier this month heard guilty pleas from the two girls on charges of wounding with intent and criminal damage.

With at least a third of 15-year-olds falling victim, is it time for anti-bullying laws in Hong Kong?

The court heard how the girls had sexually assaulted their victim with a chair leg, burned her hair with a lighter, groped her breasts, stamped on her and spat in her mouth during a shocking assault on July 11 in Tin Shui Wai. They were ordered to pay the girl HK$1,760 (US$225) in compensation.

Shui described the extent of the cruelty as “what we see in movies”.

She told the two baby-faced girls before sentencing that “everyone makes mistakes in their lives, so do judges – you have made a huge one this time”.

“But through this mistake, you can learn how to be a newborn person.”

She urged the pair to cut ties with triad members and drugs to show their remorse was not just “empty talk”.

“I trust that you can be salvaged, though it depends largely on your determination,” Shui said before sending them away.

Prosecutors earlier detailed how the assault was preceded by an altercation over several social media posts in which the victim had written ill of the two girls.

Shui told the two young offenders that violence was not the answer.

“Not everyone is going to like you in this world, just as not everyone likes judges,” she said.

The two girls’ resentment for their victim was compounded by a fondness the 15-year-old had for a boy, who instead was more fond of their victim.

When it came to confronting their target, the two girls came accompanied by several other teenagers, including boys.

Why stalking, cyberbullying and doxxing are so harmful and what makes people do it

The 12-year-old, in Primary Six at the time, was the first to unleash violence, but the victim’s ordeal continued with a string of further assaults in which her phone was broken.

The victim was forced to spend five days in hospital for injuries to her scalp, face and limbs.

Since the incident, several unknown people had knocked on the door at the home of the younger girl to hassle her family, the court heard on Friday. As a result, her younger brother had been sent to a care home for two weeks.

Shui told the 12-year-old that the unintended consequences brought on her family by her behaviour would be a lesson to think twice before acting.

But she said the girl had been under the negative influence of her older friend.

Six other teenagers have pleaded not guilty over the incident. They are expected to stand trial at West Kowloon Court.