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'Breasts Are Not Weapons' Say Bra-Wearing Protesters After Hong Kong Conviction

Ng Lai-ying got three-and-a-half months in prison for assaulting a police officer with her breast, and demonstrators took to the streets to protest a "ridiculous" and "sexist" ruling.

by Charlotte Meredith
Aug 3 2015, 5:15pm

Imagen vía Jerome Favre/EPA

Around 200 bra-wearing men and women protested in Hong Kong after a woman was sentenced to three-and-a-half months in prison for assaulting a police officer with her breast.

In a passionate stand against what has been described as a "ridiculous" and "sexist" ruling, demonstrators took to the streets on Sunday, chanting "breasts are not weapons" as they decried Ng Lai-ying's sentencing.

Ng was accused of bumping her chest against a police officer's arm during a March protest against cross-border trading by brokers in mainland China.

The 30-year-old woman had accused Chief Inspector Chan Ka-po of indecent assault after touching her breast, but the court ruled against her last Thursday, saying she deliberately pushed herself against him so she could accuse him of molesting her.

Activists on Sunday mocked the ruling, with one topless male activist wearing a black bra saying: "We better watch out as one day police might accuse us of attacking with our penis or buttock," AFP News Agency reported.

Related: Clashes Erupt During Hong Kong Protests Over 'Parallel Trading' With Mainland China

Video from the demonstration at which Ng was arrested appears to show her with a bloody nose, while the court heard during the trial that she suffered a fractured nose after police officers appeared to push her over from behind, according to the South China Morning Post.

But Magistrate Michael Chan Pik-kiu at the The Tuen Mun court said Ng had used "her female identity to trump up the allegation that the officer had molested" her.

He added 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 BBC reported.

Related: Hong Kong Defies China and Votes Against Beijing-Backed 'Sham Democracy'

Activists behind Sunday's bra-wielding protest now fear that the conviction will put off women from taking part in future political protests.

Luk Kit-ling, a spokeswoman for the Breast Walk rally, said: "It is very shocking and regrettable when a woman who says she's been molested is interpreted as causing chaos. It will deter women from taking part in social movements and deprive them of the right to take part in political activities."

One man, proudly wearing a bra for the first time, told AFP: "We have come to this rather odd method to tell the world how ridiculous it is."

Speaking to CNN, Ng Cheuk Ling, a 24-year-old activist with the Hong Kong Women's Coalition on Equal Opportunities, said: "We are all baffled as to how a breast attack works."

"If this sets a precedent, the police will not only abuse their power but also strip women of their rights to take part in protests. Sexual harassment becomes a tactic for police suppression."

Ng's boyfriend, Kwong Chun-lung, 20, and student Poon Tsz-hang, 22, were also each found guilty of one count of obstructing a police officer, along with a 14-year-old boy who was convicted of assaulting Chan. Ng has been bailed pending an appeal.

Follow Charlotte Meredith on Twitter: @CHMeredith

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