Hong Kong hurdler Vera Lui's ex-coach arrested for sexual assault
Last year, Vera Lui Lai-yiu became Hong Kong’s first personality to speak out about abuse as part of the #MeToo movement.
The former coach of Hong Kong champion hurdler Vera Lui Lai-yiu was arrested on Sunday at Hong Kong International Airport after being charged with sexually assaulting the sportswoman when she was a teenager.
The 76-year-old man, who was arrested for “indecent assault”, was later released on bail after giving a verbal statement and was told to report back to authorities next month, a police spokesman told AFP on Tuesday.
HK sports authorities urged to create policies
According to the South China Morning Post, a day after Lui’s former coach was arrested, Hong Kong’s sports authorities revealed they will push its members to set up guidelines tackling sexual harassment and abuse by the end of the year.
“We are highly concerned about [sexual harassment and abuse] in the sports community and will urge the NSAs to develop such guidelines and policies as soon as possible,” said Ronnie Wong Man-chiu, honorary secretary of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee (SFOC).
“It takes time to complete the process as we are talking about a big number of NSAs but we have to thank the recent incident of hurdler Lui Lai-yiu, which has raised the awareness and concern of such an issue and hopefully it can help improve the situation which is not very healthy.”
Of the 79 national sports associations under the SFOC of Hong Kong, only about 10 currently have guidelines tackling sexual abuse or harassment.
Two months ago, on her 23th birthday, Lui became Hong Kong’s first female personality to speak out about sexual abuse.
The hurdler said that on a Saturday afternoon, the coach offered her a massage, “something absolutely normal from an athlete’s point of view,” she said.
“I trusted him, so it did not cross my mind that he would do something despicable to his student. He then continued his so-called ‘massage’. Finally, he took off my jeans and my underwear, and touched my private parts.”
Lui said that she decided to speak out a decade later in the hope of breaking the taboo around the subject in Chinese culture and to encourage other victims to seek help.
The hurdler also mentioned that she was inspired by Olympic gymnast Mckayla Maroney, who in October accused former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar of molesting her.
Last week, Nassar was sentenced to between 40 and 175 years in prison after more than 100 women and girls accused him of a pattern of serial abuse.
The #MeToo campaign, started more than 10 years ago by activist Tarana Burke, spread rapidly in October following allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
The campaign encourages women to raise their hands and to share stories aiming to reveal the magnitude of sexual assault.