A university student was arrested on suspicion of indecently assaulting an 18-year-old woman in a Hong Kong park following a purported “ritual” to improve her luck that involved her drinking two bottles of rice wine, police said on Tuesday.
The 20-year-old man approached the victim – also a university student – on the street in Kwai Chung on March 11, claiming he was doing academic research and asking her to fill out some questionnaires.
During the conversation, he claimed he could help her get rid of bad luck by performing a rite, and the young woman gave him her mobile phone number, according to police.
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He later contacted the woman and asked her to meet at Kwai Fong Estate in the same district on Sunday. After meeting at around 3pm, he took her to buy five bottles of Chinese rice wine, claiming the liquor would be used in the ritual. The two then went to Central Kwai Chung Park in Tai Lin Pai Road, where the purported ceremony was carried out.
“During the ritual, the man asked her to drink two bottles of Chinese rice wine to complete the ceremony,” Inspector Wong Lou-sa of the Kwai Tsing criminal investigation unit said on Tuesday.
As instructed, the victim drank the two bottles of liquor and subsequently passed out.
She woke up about seven hours later to find herself lying on the ground in the park with the man nowhere to be seen.
“She found her clothes were dishevelled, and she suspected she was indecently assaulted when she was passed out. She then made a report to police,” Wong said.
The man was wearing gold-framed glasses, an orange jacket and a blue surgical mask at the time of the incident.
After checking security camera footage to gather evidence, police arrested the suspect at Kwai Fong MTR station around 4pm on Monday.
“He allegedly told her he could foretell her future. We believe he wanted to use this to lure her to come out,” the inspector said.
According to the force, the suspect was arrested on suspicion of indecent assault, an offence that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail.
Officers were investigating whether there were other victims, Wong said, and anyone who had fallen victim to such an assault and did not report it should come forward and contact police.
Wong also urged witnesses or anyone with information to contact officers at 3661 2971.
In 2020, police received 682 reports of indecent assault, a 30.5 per cent drop from 982 in 2019.
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