China

Hong Kong protest over 'breast as weapon' conviction

Protester wearing fake breasts in Wan Chai, Hong Kong (2 Aug 2015) Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Breast Walk protesters said they were highlighting the "ridiculous" nature of the conviction

Dozens of bra-wearing men and women have protested in Hong Kong after a woman was jailed for assaulting a senior policeman with her breast.

Ng Lai-ying, 30, had accused Chief Inspector Chan Ka-po of touching her breast during a protest in March.

But the court had ruled against her, saying she deliberately pushed her breast against him so she could accuse him of assault.

She was sentenced on Thursday to three months and 15 days in prison.

About 200 people joined the Breast Walk protest outside police headquarters in Wan Chai on Sunday - either wearing exposed bras or waving them - saying that a breast was "not a weapon".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption One man said the sight of all the bras was not as ugly as the verdict itself

Ng had been taking part in a protest in Yuen Long against Chinese mainlanders visiting Hong Kong to buy cheaper and better quality produce, a long-running controversial subject in the territory.

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She said that during scuffles with police, Chief Inspector Chan had tried to grab her bag, but his hand had landed on her breast.

She accused him of indecent assault, but he in turn accused her of using her breast to assault him.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The protesters said breasts were not a weapon

The Tuen Mun court found her guilty in July, with magistrate Michael Chan Pik-kiu saying she had tried to damage the policeman's reputation.

She had used "her female identity to trump up the allegation that the officer had molested" her, the South China Morning Post quoted him as saying.

At her sentencing on Thursday, Mr Chan said that if he did not "hand down a deterring sentence, the public might mistakenly think it is a trivial matter to assault police officers during protests".

The magistrate has also said he received personal threats after the verdict.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The court said it had to deliver a deterring sentence

Those protesting on Sunday said the ruling was "ridiculous".

Retired teacher James Hon, who noted it was his first time wearing a bra, told AFP news agency: "We have come to this rather odd method to tell the world how ridiculous it is."

"The ruling is absurd. How can breasts be a weapon?" said activist Ng Cheuk-ling, saying she feared it would deter women from taking part in political protest.

"Police must review their guidelines to handle female protesters," she told AFP.

Another man told the Post: "The way I dress today looks quite ugly as a male, but it is not as ugly as the judgment, which is like pointing at a deer and calling it a horse."

The Post said the protest was illegal, but those taking part left peacefully before handing over a petition.

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