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Cricket Hong Kong

Anti-sexual harassment code for Hong Kong cricket in the wake of hurdler Vera Lui’s assault claims

The governing body for the sport in Hong Kong is conducting workshops in January to educate its community on all types of harassment

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 December, 2017, 4:44pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 December, 2017, 10:58pm

Cricket Hong Kong has implemented an anti-harassment code for players, player support personnel and staff in the wake of recent sexual abuse claims by hurdler Vera Lui Lai-yiu.

The code is a comprehensive manual that not only covers sexual harassment but also discriminatory and condescending behaviour involving race, skin colour, sexual orientation, age, religion and other factors.

CHK interim chief executive Justin Pearce said the body was initially in the process of formulating a child protection policy but decided to expand the code to include all forms of harassment after Lui’s revelations. It came into effect on December 15.

“It was actually due to the furore that arose around the athletics,” said Pearce. “We were already in the process of formalising a child protection policy and this was a natural progression.

“The policy was drafted with guidance from the Australian and New Zealand codes. This was done on the Monday immediately upon the story on athletics breaking in SCMP [on November 30]. Thereafter we ran it through our solicitors too to add any items of law that were relevant.

“Next we had to tie it to our current Code of Behaviour and the CoB Panel.”

Hong Kong hurdler Vera Lui’s claim that a coach sexually assaulted her when she was 13 sparks outcry, police probe

In November, Lui, 23, published a post on her Facebook page describing an incident 10 years ago in which she said she was sexually assaulted by a coach.

Her post was accompanied by a photo of her holding a card with the message “#MeToo” – which has now become the global coming-out hashtag for those who have suffered sexual abuse but were previously scared to go public.

Lui’s revelation prompted Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to ask police to follow up the case.

The unnamed coach has since been suspended from work by two of his employers: Watson’s Athletic Club, a member of the conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings, and the hurdler’s alma mater, Pui Ching Middle School, where he trained her 10 years ago.

Pearce said relevant staff from cricket clubs in Hong Kong are required to attend workshops on how to stay clear of harassment during the course of their activities.

“Clubs were advised of the policy week before its effective date,” said Pearce. “In January we will undertake a series of educational sessions for clubs.

“A similar process will take place with the child protection policy and all clubs will be required to appoint a child protection officer. They will also receive training on the subject similar to the anti-harassment policy.”

With regard to sexual harassment, the cricket code says a person commits such harassment if he or she “makes an unwelcome sexual advance, or unwelcome request for sexual favours, to another (‘the person harassed’); or engages in other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in relation to the person harassed”.

It also includes a person engaging in “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which creates a hostile or intimidating work environment”.

The code identified types of behaviour such as written, verbal or physical abuse; display of offensive visual material; unwelcome jokes, comments, innuendo or taunting; leering and obscene comments; condescending, paternalistic or patronising behaviour; awkward practical jokes; unwanted physical contact; flirting; and physical or sexual assault.

Those who may have been victims of sexual assault are advised to lodge a complaint in writing to the CHK’s head of integrity, usually the chief executive.