Student in orientation camp assault case acquitted

Adelyn Lau

A 20-year-old University of Hong Kong student was acquitted of indecent assault and common assault at an orientation camp last August, after a Fanling Court magistrate said it is hard to identify and convict a suspect with only a view of his back.

Tang Ho-yin, a second-year student, was charged with indecent assault against victim X, a first-year student, during a game at the Po Leung Kuk Jockey Club Tai Tong Holiday Camp on August 20 last year.

During the game, X felt someone reach from under her armpit down to her waist and hips, with fingers touching her chest.

The common assault on X allegedly happened the next day in the camp dormitory’s living room.

Magistrate Frances Leung Nga-yan ruled that for the indecent assault, witness A did not identify the defendant from his face but his back, making it impossible for the court to definitively assert the defendant was the perpetrator.

Leung added there was no surveillance footage at the scene and the prosecution relied heavily on witness A’s testimony.

She believed A was an “honest and reliable” witness and considered the testimonies of A and victim X “mutually supportive.” Despite indicating the indecent assault indeed occurred at that time, the identification of the defendant was crucial.

Leung concluded that the prosecution failed to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and that the charge of indecent assault was not established.

Regarding the common assault charge, Leung accepted it as a fact that the defendant had swept up and down X’s arm, also intentionally bringing his head close to X’s thigh.

Though X had knowledge the defendant had been discussing sexual topics, she still voluntarily extended her arm for the defendant to touch.

Leung noted that although the man’s behavior was unwelcome, he might not have been aware of it at the time. She ruled there was no evidence to establish a case of common assault and acquitted Tang of the charge.


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