A woman who said she was indecently assaulted inside the mainland-administered area of Hong Kong’s high-speed rail terminal has been told she will have to report her case to the mainland police.
A controversial joint checkpoint law was passed by the legislature last year which gave China – as opposed to Hong Kong – jurisdiction over the mainland port area, which represents around a quarter of the station. The law empowers mainland officers to enforce mainland law in the area.
The 23-year-old woman was a platform assistant working for a company contracted by the MTR Corporation, which manages the station.
Police confirmed that she reported the case last Friday, saying that she was indecently assaulted last month by a 50-year-old man in the Hong Kong-administered port area of the station, and also in the mainland-administered area. Apple Daily cited sources as saying that the man was a colleague of the victim. Both are Hong Kong residents.
The police said the man was arrested last Friday in the Hong Kong port area, and was released on bail. The Yau Tsim District Investigation Team is investigating.
The authorities added that the allegation concerning the man’s alleged assault in the mainland-administered area would be treated as a “crime outside Hong Kong,” and thus they advised the victim to report to police in China.
The MTR Corporation also confirmed that an allegation was made by a platform assistant to police officers at the Hong Kong port area.
‘What can victims do’?
Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan said on Tuesday that she understood that the victim was indecently assaulted three times in both areas.
“We have been criticising [the joint checkpoint law] as ceding land, and it would be a dangerous thing for Hong Kong people,” she said. “I am not even sure if the mainland has the crime of indecent assault. What can the victim do to seek responsibility? This, I have no idea at all.”
“This is a very not ideal situation. Hong Kong people’s rights and protections have been stripped by the joint checkpoint law,” she said.
She said that, under the joint checkpoint law, the victim can seek civil assistance in Hong Kong, even if the indecent assault occurred inside the mainland port area.
“As an employer, the MTR Corporation has a responsibility to provide an appropriate working environment,” she said. “In my understanding, the victim can only seek civil assistance.”
But she said if victims were not an employee of the MTR Corporation, they may not receive any protection inside the mainland port area.
Business and Professionals Alliance lawmaker Priscilla Leung said a support centre should be set up inside the station to provide people with legal help from experts in both Hong Kong and mainland law, to make victims feel less lonely.
Leung said on a Commercial Radio programme on Tuesday that many crimes in Hong Kong have equivalents in mainland law: “The two governments should provide assistance together to give resources to victims,” she said.
Last week, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung said that mainland Chinese officials can enforce certain court judgments at the mainland-administered area of the terminal without notifying Hong Kong.
Cheung was responding to an incident in which a Hong Kong permanent resident, surnamed Lung, had been taken by officials to Shenzhen from the station’s mainland port area.
In an unrelated case, a mainland Chinese man surnamed Zou was barred from entering Hong Kong at the mainland port area of the rail terminus last month. He was then transported back to Shenzhen by court officials from the city.