A top Hong Kong government adviser has been heavily criticized for spreading rumors after claiming she had confirmed a report of a girl offering free sex to frontline protesters.
Executive councilor Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fan claimed that she had confirmed “a true case” on Radio Television Hong Kong’s program ‘Backchat’ on Monday after a listener’s email was read out by a program host. It alleged that some girls are being tasked with “providing comfort” to frontline protesters.
Law said: “I think we have confirmed that this is a true case. I am so sad for these young girls who have been misled into offering free sex.”
Some young girls were cajoled into believing that the protesters were “warriors,” she said.
However, Law, the former secretary for education and manpower and a former commissioner on the anti-graft watchdog, did not provide concrete evidence during the program.
Another guest on the program, chairman of League of Social Democrats Avery Ng countered Law, saying he thinks sex should be always free and out of love, adding that he did not think protesters had to risk injury from tear-gas or bullets to get sex.
A listener called into the program later, accusing Law of spreading rumors. But the councilor claimed she had evidence.
“That is the daughter of a friend’s friend. That’s second-hand knowledge but it’s direct. It’s real. Okay? Direct and it’s real. And the girl actually wrote a piece.”
Recently, “a letter of confession” was posted on social media on some pro-establishment groups about a 14-year-old schoolgirl, who allegedly became pregnant after offering free sex to frontline protesters. The post went viral.
Another audio clip, circulated among WhatsApp groups by an anonymous woman, claimed that many girls aged 13 to 14 had been told they are “angels of the revolution” and should offer free sex to comfort “the warriors who fought outside days and nights.”
After the radio program, Ng said Law had sent him the “evidence” – the “letter of confession” and the audio clip which had been circulated on social media. Law said she received the “evidence” from a “cruise buddy”. Ng said she insisted the rumors were true.
Local media tried to reach Law for more information of the case but the councilor refused, citing privacy. She later replied through a secretary that she wanted to remind girls to stay alert and stay away from alcohol and marijuana in gatherings with ‘new’ friends met at protest activities.
Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam said before the Executive Council meeting on Tuesday morning that these remarks only represented Law’s personal view.
Lam said government officials should remain extremely cautious about speculation and rumors as there was a lot of fake news in society. She said people should report to police if they have evidence of any criminal cases.
A spokesman from Caritas Hong Kong, which offers services to underage girls who get pregnant, said the group had not received any request for assistance from girls who got pregnant after sex with protesters over the past three months, RTHK reported.
‘Insulting’, irresponsible claim
Law’s claims have been heavily criticized. Anti-government protesters described the claims as an insult to the intelligence of Hong Kong people, as she did not back her claims with evidence.
“This is another example of the state campaign against protesters and this shows the quality of the government,” a protester surnamed Chan said at the Citizens’ Press Conference on Monday night. They called on Law to report the matter to the police if she has proof.
Ng Wai-ching, founder of RainLily, an association that fights sexual violence against women, said when one person has sex with another person, regardless of their identity, they are having “free sex”, citing a married couple as an example, news website HK01.com reported.
Ng said it was unfortunate that Law spread such a rumor without providing evidence. She advised people to carefully analyze the information they receive.
Pan-democrats lawmakers slammed Law for making an irresponsible allegation, saying that a former senior official should not claim the rumor is true without giving evidence.
Claudia Mo Man-ching, convener of the pro-democracy camp, said Law made a serious allegation of a sexual offense – so she should convince the family to report to the police.
Helena Wong Pik-wan from the Democratic Party also urged Law to apologize to the public for spreading fake news and to take back her remarks if she cannot present evidence.
City’s biggest challenge: Li
Meanwhile, Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing had called on political leaders to give the next generation a chance while young people should look at the big picture.
A video had surfaced online on Monday showing Li speaking to a small crowd during a Buddhist gathering at Tsz Shan Monastery in Tai Po in the New Territories on Sunday. The gathering was said to be a prayer for Hong Kong.
The 91-year-old Li, said to be the city’s richest resident, said Hong Kong was facing its biggest challenge since World World II. He said if unrest continues, the result will not be good.
“We hope the young people can take the big picture into consideration,” Li said, “and those in power can have mercy to the masters of our future.”
He also said he hoped the two sides could be more considerate towards each other.
It was the first time Li has spoken publicly on the unrest. Last month, he paid for full-page advertisements in several local newspapers calling for an end to violence.