ACSVAW statement on the police's use of sexual violence in arrest of protester
The Association has been made aware of a police arrest incident that involved sexual violence in the early morning on 5th August at the peripheral of Tin Shui Wai police station. Upon the arrest, the protester's outer and inner garments was forcefully removed, the protester was then carried into the police station in a way that her private parts were exposed to the press and the public for an extended period of time. The Association considers the arrest was made with excessive force that resulted in damaging the dignity of the protester, depriving her right to bodily autonomy, and is an act of sexual violence. We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the threat and use of sexual violence in any situation.
According to the Police General Order Chapter 44, an officer shall not conduct a frisk or a wall search of a member of the opposite sex. The Order is reflecting the gender sensitivity that should be upheld in the course of exercising Police duties. Whenever practicable, an officer should avoid any unnecessary bodily contact with persons of different gender.
As confirmed by a police spokesperson in today's early morning, there were female officers presence at the scene, but it was claimed that the three female officers have not been able to subdue the female protester and thus intervened by male officers. We must point out that under the situation which the protester has been subdued and with the presence of female police officers, male officers must let the female officers to handle the rest of the procedures instead of allowing the inappropriate bodily contact and posture to be continued. The officers should also have assisted the protester to fix her clothing immediately when it was falling off to prevent the protester's dignity to be damaged.
The Association would expect the police to give a clear account of the incident to the public, issue an apology to the female protester and the public, and respond to the following:
Was the arrangement happened at scene caused by the lack of female officers? Please provide the amount of female officers at that operation.
Did the officers violate the Police General Order?
Will the police conduct a proactive investigation into this incident?
Why was the female protester not handed over to the female officers after she was subdued?
Does an arrested person's fundamental human right to putting their clothes back on in prevention of exposing their private parts deprived automatically?
RainLily has initiated contact and expressed its concerns towards the involved protester through lawyers, we expect no similar incident should happen again. The Association would reiterate that if anyone is facing a similar situation, they can request for services from RainLily by making a request to the police (or through other social services' referral). RainLily professional crisis intervention services are 24-hour available.
The Association will submit a letter requesting for the police to follow-up on the incident today (5th August 2019) at Tin Shui Wai Police Station. We would also call for the public to stop circulating the un-censored images and videos from the incident to prevent further traumatisation.
Police General Order Chapter 44: https://www.police.gov.hk/info/doc/pgo/en/Epgo044.pdf