A 33-year-old man was arrested for indecent assault in Hong Kong on Tuesday after he was accused of groping at least four women by posing as a martial arts instructor and tricking them into attending fake film auditions.
A student and model were among the four women, aged between 17 and 52, who had responded to his Facebook advertisements claiming to offer jobs in the film industry if the applicants passed auditions, police said at a briefing.
Officers believe there are more victims and appealed for them to come forward, in a case that came to light over the weekend when Hong Kong singer Vangie Tang Wing-chi accused the man of getting too close to clients in images posted on his social media pages.
“The women were told they had to film a short clip showing martial arts instruction,” a police spokesman said.
“The suspect then used his hands and genitals to touch the women, who had felt harassed but were in shock and unable to react or fight back.”
The assaults allegedly took place between April 21 and May 9 in Sha Tin. While the suspect, whose name was given as Leung, claimed to be a Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor, police said he was actually a security guard.
Officers from the Sha Tin district crime squad picked up the suspect in Wo Che Estate in Sha Tin at about 4pm on Tuesday. He was being held for questioning and had not been charged.
The case first went viral on social media after Hong Kong singer Vangie Tang Wing-chi shared photos from Leung’s Facebook page on Sunday, which showed him holding the women close to his body.
“There is no sport or martial art that requires this amount of physical contact between a coach and student. Professional coaches will also know to keep a respectful distance,” Tang wrote in her post.
Leung’s Facebook pages have since been deleted.
Tang later lodged a police report with Yau Tsim Mong district councillor Andy Yu Tak-po after she received six separate complaints.
In a joint press release on Tuesday, Yu said he had asked local rape crisis centre RainLily to provide counselling for the victims.
Tang said she was aware some victims might be afraid to seek help without evidence. “But even in past cases with no evidence, it was possible to lodge a report as long as any indecent behaviour or harassment took place during a meeting between two people,” she said.
In Hong Kong, indecent assault carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail.
Additional reporting by Clifford Lo
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This article Hong Kong security guard claiming to be martial arts instructor accused of groping at least four women after using Facebook to lure them to fake film auditions first appeared on South China Morning Post