This Is Why Hong Kong Men Were Wearing Bras This Weekend

Photo: PHILIPPE LOPEZ/ AFP/ Getty Images.
This weekend, a coed crowd of around 200 demonstrators flocked to Wan Chai Police Headquarters in downtown Hong Kong, wearing bras on top of their outfits (yes, men were donning underwires as well). Why? At a protest in March against mainland Chinese border or parallel traders that buy merch in Hong Kong to sell across the border, a 30-year-old woman, Ng Lai-ying, bumped into a police officer, Chan Ka-Po, with her chest; amid the chaos of the protest, Lai-ying fell on the ground, scraped her face, and was arrested.

Lai-ying pled not guilty in the trial, and claims she cried out “indecent assault” during the incident. The claim was not only rejected by a local magistrate — Ng was accused of lying and sentenced to three and a half months in jail. If that’s not cringeworthy and sexist enough, deputy magistrate Chan Pik-kiu’s response to Ng will make you squirm even more: “You used your female identity to trump up the allegation that the officer had molested you. This is a malicious act”. To add insult to injury, the deputy magistrate further admonished Lai-ying for harming the police officer's reputation as a result of her accusation.

"I believe we are all baffled as to how a breast attack works," Ng Cheuk Ling, an activist with the Hong Kong Women's Coalition on Equal Opportunities, told CNN. "It's ridiculous and alarming that the judge didn't just convict the protester of assaulting police with her breast, but that her seeking help was also considered part of the assault…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.”

The crowd chanted “breasts are not weapons” during yesterday’s protest. Female protesters certainly shouldn’t have to worry about being accused of “breast assault”—or anything else their male counterparts can’t be punished for.

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