The Hong Kong Anglican Church has said that its top management were informed about cases of alleged indecent assault by a clergyman in 2007 but the church was unable to take any further action. The police are looking into the incident as the church made a report following media revelations.
News site HK01 reported on Tuesday that two male church-goers were allegedly indecently assaulted in 2004 and 2007 by the same minister. The victim in the 2004 case was 17 at the time and said he received around HK$2,000 in US dollars – he said he believed it was to keep quiet about the incident. But the minister has denied the allegation and said the money was given as the victim was going to study overseas.
The Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui – the influential Anglican church in its local name – expressed its “deep concern” over the report in a statement on Tuesday.
“To safeguard all parties involved, the HKSKH had made a report to the police for follow-up,” it said.
The HKSKH confirmed that, in November 2007, several church members verbally raised their concern regarding the alleged misconduct of one of its clergy to the then-diocesan general secretary Lysta Leung and the archbishop Paul Kwong.
According to internal emails between church-goers in 2007, seen by HK01, some members had met with the then-diocesan general secretary over the matter, and the archbishop was looking into relevant laws with legal advisers.
“Upon enquiries and consulting the chancellor, the HKSKH clearly pointed out to those church members that the party involved may substantiate the allegation with evidence for follow-up,” the church said.
“Subsequently it was informed by those church members that the party involved did not want to proceed further with the matter and the identity of the party involved in the matter had not been disclosed to the church. As such it was not possible for the Church to take any further action.”
The HKSKH said it has always responded seriously to allegation of misconduct against its colleagues and would deal with the same in accordance with set procedure: “If it involves possible criminal activities, the matter would be reported to the police.”
Reverend Peter Koon, provincial secretary general of the HKSKH, reported the matter to police at the police headquarters in Wan Chai on Tuesday afternoon.
The police confirmed that a 52-year-old man made a report that there were media reports of alleged misconduct at his institution, but he was unable to provide details. The case will be followed up by Wan Chai Region Crime Squad (1) as a case of “request for police investigation.”