Late Night Protest Turns Violent In HK After Police Allegedly Manhandles Female Protester
As Hong Kong enters its tenth consecutive weekend of protests, its riot police are being accused of "violating a woman's dignity"
In an arrest the Hong Kong Police made on Sunday night, 4 August, a young female protester was manhandled by the officers, Asia Times reported.
According to a tweet by prominent Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong, riot police removed the woman's underwear before taking her away.
Meanwhile, a video uploaded on YouTube shows the defenceless female protester’s skirt ripped off and underwear loosened as she is surrounded and carried away by more than six police officers in Tin Shui Wai on Sunday at midnight.
While the police did nothing to rectify the situation, Senior Police Superintendent Yolanda Yu Hoi-kwan claimed that the woman's skirt was accidentally torn off because she "struggled too much"
In a report on 6 August, Asia Times reported Superintendent Yolanda Yu Hoi-kwan denying that any sexual violence took place during the woman's arrest.
According to Yolanda Yu, two male officers stepped in to assist their three female officers who were unable to subdue the woman because she was struggling vigorously.
She added that the female protester was arrested for assaulting a police officer.
"During the process, she did not cooperate. We found three female officers to subdue her. But because she struggled and did not cooperate, two more male officers came to subdue her," Yolanda Yu was quoted as saying by the Hong Kong Free Press.
Because she was wearing a dress and because she struggled, that was maybe why you saw what was shown in the video.
Despite Yolanda Yu's attempts to shift the blame on the woman, residents and political leaders strongly condemned the Hong Kong police for the treatment they meted out against the protester
"It was a rude behaviour that was highly disrespectful to women," Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong said, as quoted by the Hong Kong Free Press.
She added that it was not the first time police have misbehaved with female protesters.
While highlighting how a female protester’s bra was revealed when she was pulled from a group by officers in June, the lawmaker demanded that the police explain the incident in Tin Shui Wai and called for improvements to be made in light of it.
Gender rights advocacy groups also gathered at Tin Shui Wai police station on Monday to support the arrested woman and to demand that police apologise.
According to Coconuts Hong Kong, eleven pressure groups, including the Gender and Sexual Justice in Action and the Association for the Advancement of Feminism, called for the protest and condemned the police for "violating women's dignity".
Meanwhile, the female protester, who was successfully bailed out with the help of lawyers, took to an online forum LIHKG to say that she was safe and unharmed aside from a few bruises. She added that female police officers looked after her following her arrest.
In the LIHKG forum, a Reddit-like platform that has become an important information-sharing platform for protesters in Hong Kong, the woman noted that a number of male officers had sworn at her while she shouted "my skirt" and "female police".
According to the woman, she "did not even shed a tear" during the ordeal and calmly exercised her right to silence after being arrested.
While the incident could become "an indecent scene" on the news, she said that she did not mind her footage being known to the public if it could make more Hongkongers aware of the unrestrained police violence.