Hong Kong police chief inspector inflated his claims, court hears in breast assault appeal

The case centres on whether Ng Lai-ying used her breast to assault an officer; she was convicted by a Tuen Mun magistrate and sentenced to three and a half months in jail

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 July, 2016, 4:08pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 July, 2016, 9:52pm

A police chief inspector who accused a woman of assaulting him with her breast in a high-profile trial that drew international media coverage last year inflated his claims, the woman’s lawyer told an appeal on Wednesday.

But a counterclaim that the officer had molested the woman was also described as “bizarre” by the prosecution.

Hong Kong protester convicted of assaulting police officer with her breast

Barrister Lawrence Lau Wai-chung, for Ng Lai-ying, told the High Court that despite being the number two in command at a protest in Yuen Long against cross-border traders on March 1 last year, inspector Chan Ka-po testified earlier that he decided to face the three defendants, including Ng, “alone for five minutes”.

This happened even though many police officers were stationed at the scene, a video played to the court showed.

Law enforcers exaggerating their claims can be a very destructive weapon
Barrister Lawrence Lau

Lau said he brought the point to the attention of then deputy magistrate Michael Chan Pik-kiu during the trial, asking whether it was not possible for the inspector to call reinforcements.

“Law enforcers exaggerating their claims can be a very destructive weapon,” he said, asking Madam Justice Judianna Barnes to quash Ng’s conviction.

Ng, 30, was found guilty last year of assaulting the inspector by using her chest to bump against Chan’s arm. A 14-year-old boy was also convicted of assaulting Chan in the same trial.

Ng’s boyfriend, Kwong Chun-lung, 20, and student Poon Tsz-hang, 22, were each found guilty of one count of obstructing a police officer.

Ng was sentenced to three months and 15 days in jail. She was released on bail pending the appeal.

On Wednesday, Barnes said she noted from media reports that public opinion seemed to have been asking why Ng was found guilty, even though it looked as if she was the one who was indecently assaulted. Ng also accused the inspector of molesting her during the trial.

Hong Kong magistrate reveals he received threats before sentencing protester accused of assaulting cop with her breast

The news made international headlines, followed by a subsequent local protest with demonstrators sporting bras to proclaim “breasts are not weapons”.

Lau said this was not his case as he clarified that anyone could assault others with any part of their body in the context of law.

But prosecutor Anna Lai Yuen-kee argued that Kwong had fabricated the sequence of events relating to the encounter between his girlfriend and the inspector.

Kwong caught hold of the officer’s left hand, instead of his right hand that was alleged to have been touching Ng’s breast, the prosecutor noted.

“That’s unreasonable,” Lai said.

It would be a bold move if the inspector, under the watchful eye of so many people, dared touch a woman, she added.

Barnes reserved judgment in the appeal case.

Additional reporting by Eddie Lee