There are reports online of a man who poses as a foreign tourist at the Central Piers and the harbour side of Tsim Sha Tsui and asks women to take selfies with him. He then allegedly uses the opportunity to grope or kiss them.
At around 3pm Friday on evening, Lamma Island resident Sarah Millson was on her way to Central Pier No. 4 when she says was approached by a young man “aged around 20” as she got off the escalator at the bottom of the IFC overpass.
“He seemed quite timid and asked me if I would take a photo of him in front of the harbour,” Millson told The HK HUB, adding, “I’ve lived in Hong Kong for almost 11 years and consider it the safest place I’ve ever been. Nothing like this has ever happened to me here and not to any of my friends. So, I took the guy at face value and took the photo of him.”
However, after that, he asked Millson if she would take a selfie with him. “After selfie number one, he asks for another, requesting you stand closer. Then he asks to put his hand on your shoulder. Then he asks you to move your hair or something that allows him to place his hand under your arm so he can touch your breast,” she said, relating the incident on social media.
When I tried to free myself, he held onto me and tried to kiss me,” said Millson in the post, warning other women about the perpetrator.
“I broke away and walked very quickly into Pier 4 to take the ferry home. I got off the ferry at Lamma and then called [the police]. They asked me whether I was willing to prosecute and I said yes because by then I’d heard other stories about [the perpetrator]. The police asked me to return to the scene and look for him to see if he was still around, which I did. That was 5pm,” Millson said.
There are several victims of this harassment
When Millson went to Central Station to make a statement, the police showed her a video of a man who behaved similarly in Tsim Sha Tsui. They told her that other women have lodged complaints with them — including the mother of a teenage girl who was similarly molested on December 7 — but that the perpetrator is difficult to catch.
When Millson posted about her experience on social media, several other women commented, saying they had been approached in a similar way at Victoria Dockside, the Star Ferry Pier in Central, and Central Ferry No. 3 by a man who claimed to be a tourist. He would first ask them to take pictures of him, and then ask for selfies. In some instances, the man would insist on a selfie even after the women declined, which made them extremely uncomfortable.
Could this be a long-time operation?
Last year, TVB did a story about a man who would approach women at the Clock Tower in Tsim Sha Tsui. The TVB crew followed a young man who approached women in the area, and asked them to take pictures of him in front of the harbour and then requested for selfies with them.
They got footage of the man groping some women, and in some instances, holding on to them even when they tried to pull away from him. A stall vendor in the area suggested that this was part of a larger racket, and that the man has accomplices. A TVB reporter even approached the perpetrator to ask him questions, but he did not answer and instead took refuge in the nearby MTR station.
If you are a victim of sexual assault, call 999 to report your case to the Hong Kong Police Force
Header image credits: TVB