Following a tense open dialogue on Thursday, police in Hong Kong have said they will investigate a sexual assault claim by a Chinese University student at San Uk Ling detention centre after hundreds of her classmates put pressure on the vice chancellor to condemn the alleged incident, along with other instances of police brutality.
They also demanded better security after riot police entered the campus last weekend.
Students and alumni filled 1,400-seat Sir Run Run Shaw Hall at the university’s Sha Tin campus for a dialogue session with the school’s president, Rocky Tuan Sung-chi.
At least 32 of the university’s students have been arrested during the ongoing protests, according to Pro-vice-chancellor Dennis Ng Kee-pui. Ng said the university had met some of the arrested students and would provide them with the “necessary legal assistance”.
During the 3½-hour session, Tuan was repeatedly questioned about the support the university provided the students. His replies were often interrupted by angry students who chanted slogans, pointed laser beams, shouted profanities and sang protest songs.
Dozens of students surrounded Tuan for more than 30 minutes after the meeting ended at 9pm. The students demanded that Tuan issue a statement condemning police brutality. Some students became emotional and burst into tears as they accused Tuan of continuously dodging questions.
“Why is it so hard [for Tuan] to condemn police brutality?,” a student said, weeping.
Tuan replied that he would issue a statement in a week and would condemn what he called the police’s sexual violence, referring to an alleged sexual assault on some arrested protesters.
He said the government should conduct “independent inquiries on various aspects” to uncover the truth behind the months of protests. He also said he hoped members of the university would unite and “sail through these difficult times”.
Meanwhile, in a statement released on Thursday night, police said they were aware of a female student claiming she was sexually assaulted by officers when she was detained at San Uk Ling Holding Centre.
“Police accord high priority to such a serious allegation,” the force stated, adding that its Complaints Against Police Office has not received any case of sexual assault related to the facility.
“We will proactively contact the [woman] and appeal to her to provide concrete evidence so that we can launch a fair fact-finding investigation as soon as possible,” the statement added.