Clergy abuse under police spotlight in Hong Kong

 

Clergy abuse under police spotlight in Hong Kong

Author: 

George Conger

Hong Kong police have launched an investigation into claims the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui (HKSKH) failed to investigate a now retired priest accused of sexually assaulting two young men.

On 17 April 2018 the online news service HK01 reported allegations a priest assaulted a 17 year old boy in 2004 and a second adult man in 2007. KH01 reported the 17 year old was given HK$2000 by the priest in order to buy his silence. The alleged perpetrator denied the charges, telling HK01 he gave the boy money for his education.  The online news portal further stated the HKSKH declined to cooperate with their investigation.

However, shortly after the story was made public, the HKSKH released a statement expressing its “deep concern” over the incident.  

“To safeguard all parties involved, the HKSKH has made a report to police,” the church said, and confirmed that in November 2007 church members told the diocesan secretary and Archbishop Paul Kwong -- who last year was also elected chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council.  

Upon advice of its legal counsel, the province said Archbishop Kwong took no action after the victims declined to substantiate their claims.

“Upon enquiries and consulting the chancellor, the HKSKH clearly pointed out to those church members that the party involved may substantiate the allegation with evidence for follow-up,” the church said.

“Subsequently it was informed by those church members that the party involved did not want to proceed further with the matter and the identity of the party involved in the matter had not been disclosed to the church. As such it was not possible for the Church to take any further action.”

The provincial secretary of the HKSHK, the Rev Peter Koon Ho-ming stated the church had turned over its files to the police last month. His predecessor and Archbishop Kwong had discussed the affair with the provincial chancellor, but were told that as the victim would not go public with his complaints, there was nothing they could do

Fr. Koon told the South China Morning Post the church had not covered up the incident. “How could it be possible for this to be covered up for a decade?”

“And we were not that stupid trying to cover up things like that because cases involving sexual elements have to be handled impartially. But if we didn’t have [more information], we couldn’t do anything.”

He told the SCMP the province reported the alleged assaults shortly after HK01 published its story, as the alleged victim had now spoken to the press. He went on to say the HKSHK urged any other alleged victim to contact the police and the church.

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