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Hong Kong courts

Hong Kong man claiming to be a Taoist monk sexually assaulted two women in supposed exorcism, court hears

  • Yuen Ming-kuen, 55, said his acts were intended to remove poisons and were ‘in accordance with Buddhist techniques’
  • He denied seven counts of indecent assault and another of assault causing bodily harm
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2018, 12:08am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2018, 1:14am

A Hong Kong man who claimed to be a Taoist monk molested two women on the pretence of performing “Buddhist ceremonies” to help them exorcise spirits and purify the body, prosecutors told a court on Monday.

The District Court heard Yuen Ming-kuen, 55, groped one woman to remove harmful hidden “beads” and to prevent spirits from possessing or reincarnating through her body.

He was also accused of groping the woman’s 15-year-old daughter in her sleep to check if she had been infected by “poison” found in corpses.

Yuen has denied all seven counts of indecent assault and another of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Neither of the women can be named for legal reasons.

Opening the case on Monday, prosecutor Hui Chun-sing said Yuen was first introduced to the woman on August 26, 2016 when her friends arranged for a Taoist monk to visit her flat after hearing her complain about it being haunted.

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Upon arrival, Yuen claimed he had the ability to seal the house and heal through godly spirits. It was further alleged that his therapy would work best if the woman was naked.

Hui said Yuen then used his right hand to grope the woman’s breasts for 10 minutes and also touched her genitals.

Yuen was then said to have informed the woman that she would require regular treatment at the cost of HK$8,000. But because the woman did not have enough money, she paid HK$2,500 to Yuen, Hui said.

A few days later on September 3, Yuen paid the woman another visit with one of his apprentices. He offered to perform a ceremony but was interrupted when the woman had an epileptic seizure.

Yuen purportedly told the woman that her seizures were caused by spirits attempting to reincarnate through her body and that she needed treatment, so he touched her again for another 30 minutes.

A similar treatment was allegedly performed again on September 23 the same year when Yuen saw her having another epileptic seizure and claimed he needed to exorcise the ghost of the unborn child that had been troubling her since she had an abortion.

The woman later told a colleague that she had doubts about the therapy so the colleague came by and was said to have watched Yuen move his hand under the woman’s shirt while he tried to “help her regain consciousness” during another seizure.

On March 29 last year, the woman reportedly lost control and began laughing and spreading her limbs while Yuen visited. But this time he was said to have taken another approach and punched her in her left eye, leaving it swollen.

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The prosecutor said the woman’s daughter woke up the following night to Yuen groping her. When asked what he was doing, Yuen reportedly explained that he was checking for “poison” found in corpses.

The girl later told her mother, who reported the case to police after her colleague informed her that Taoist methods do not involve touching intimate regions.

Investigators say Yuen stated upon arrest: “Each master practises differently. Arrest me if you considered mine unlawful.”

Yuen later explained in recorded interviews that he was a Taoist monk specialising in exorcism and healing after receiving training from an Arhat in his sleep, and admitted to touching the women to exorcise ghosts and remove poison, in accordance with “Buddhist techniques”.

Prosecutors are expected to call an expert from Sik Sik Yuen – a religious charitable organisation worshipping Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism – to testify against Yuen.

His trial continues before deputy district judge Terence Wai.