A teenage girl has accused Hong Kong police of sexually assaulting her while she was in police custody after being arrested during last year's protests.
The 17-year-old girl, who gave only a nickname K, said she was subjected to unreasonable and abusive treatment following her arrest outside Shatin MTR station on Sept. 25, 2019.
She told a recent news conference hosted by the Hong Kong Social Workers' General Union that she had attempted suicide three times following the attack, which left her in a psychiatric hospital where she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
"I was really scared, but no one paid any attention to me," K said. "As we were leaving [the scene of the arrest], a policewoman groped my breasts several times."
"I said, 'Don't touch my breasts!' and the crowd yelled, 'We've got it all on film,' before the policewoman stopped it."
K said she was later subjected to an invasive strip-search.
"The policewoman first asked me to take off my top and bra, then to put my bra and top back on, and then to take off my panties and trousers," K said.
"During the search, the policewoman kept putting her head close to my chest and lower body, and said some very rude and insulting things to me," she said.
"I felt so ashamed to have been treated like an animal in this way," she said.
"The reason for this [shame] was due to sexual violence by the police, and there was no way I was going to accept this, so I was going to jump onto the railway tracks to take my own life," K said.
"Someone stopped me and called the ambulance, and I was taken to a psychiatric hospital where I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome," she said.
Reports of mistreatment by police
In March, an annual report by the U.S. State Department cited reports from Amnesty International and other sources as saying that police had beaten and mistreated individuals in custody, with several reports emerging of sexual assault in detention.
Police have denied the allegations, and have said they will take legal action against one woman who complained that she was raped and sexually assaulted by four officers in a Hong Kong police station at the height of last year's pro-democracy protests.
That woman -- known only as Ms. X -- has defended herself, saying the police have failed to update her on any of the evidence in her case, while the city's chief of police has consistently tried to denigrate her.
Hong Kong Police Commissioner Chris Tang said on May 12, 2020 that the woman, who had an abortion following the alleged assault, was now "wanted" for arrest for making a false statement, though she is no longer in Hong Kong.
Reported by Lau Siu-fung for RFA's Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.