A female anti-extradition bill protester was allegedly strip-searched by two female police officers without legal grounds, the victim and legislator Tanya Chan revealed in a press conference this afternoon.
This came after the protester - who prefers to be named under the false name Ms. Lui - was injured by a police officer during an arrest. She was sent to a hospital immediately and charged two days later.
Lui was told to attend her court hearing once she was granted permission for hospital leave, but was instead taken away by police officers to a nearby police station before being sent to court.
“I followed two female officers to a room. One of them berated me and demanded a strip search. I asked her why it was necessary, and she shouted loudly, “Because you’re a criminal! Because you violated the law! … I was very scared, so I followed her instructions,” said Lui, whose face was entirely covered by a cap, sunglasses and a mask.
During the process - which took place for 15 to 30 minutes - she tried to cover her private body parts with her hands, which were hit with a pen by officers demanding that she move them. Lui also claimed she was hit between the legs and asked to squat three times, whilst another officer looked her up and down.
“Before I was allowed to get dressed, the police officers went through my clothing items, and they weren’t seen wearing gloves,” Lui added.
“This strip search was entirely unacceptable,” said solicitor Benson Chan, who confirmed Lui’s charge was not related to drugs or prohibited items that can be carried in bodies. Any searches should also have been conducted before, but not after, charges were made, he added.
Even if the force suspected Lui of carrying drugs or prohibited items after her hospital stay, they should have put on gloves to make sure the evidence would not be destroyed, explained Chan, who inferred that the search was only done for the purpose of humiliating Lui.
Lui admitted to suffering from depression for a period of time following the incident. “I was too afraid to leave the house, for fear that I would bump into any officers on the street."
She also publicised the identification number of the two officers involved in the press conference.
At the daily police press conference today, the force said they were highly concerned about the alleged case of misconduct, but they didn't have much information on the case yet.
They stressed that there are strict guidelines for officers to follow when conducting a body search, and urged the person involved to file a complaint to the Complaint Against Police Office. They also reiterated police’s respect for women’s rights.
The case has already entered into legal proceedings.