Director tells of rape bid by trainee pilot

Top News | Charlotte Luo 25 Jul 2018

A trainee pilot has been suspended after being accused of attempting to rape a Hong Kong film director in her 18th-floor hotel room in Hainan.

The suspect, who claimed to be drunk at the time, allegedly climbed into the room of Sharon Lam Suk-ching, who was asleep, from an adjacent balcony.

But he was not suspended from work until a week later when Lam publicly disclosed her ordeal.

The local public security bureau said on its official Weibo account that a suspect has been detained, identifying him as a 27-year-old employee of Hainan Airlines, surnamed Bai.

"The Qiongshan branch of Haikou city's public security bureau established a criminal case," it said.

The airline said yesterday the trainee pilot had been suspended and is being investigated by police. It said it will fully cooperate with police and will not cover up any illegal behavior.

In a Weibo posting, Lam said she was assaulted on July 16 in Haikou, where she was filming an internet drama with her crew.

"Around 6am, I was sleeping in a hotel room. Suddenly, I felt someone on top of me and touching my breasts. A stranger dressed only in black underwear was trying to rape me. I panicked. I instinctively hit him and chased him out of the room."

Lam said hotel staff showed up later and helped her call police. At a police station, she found out the suspect was a Hainan Airlines trainee pilot, who claimed he was drunk and had made a mistake.

Police tried to talk her into reaching a settlement that day but, three days later, she decided to establish a case first at the local public security bureau.

After she and Bai gave statements, a Hainan Airlines manager allegedly tried to persuade her to settle, saying it was costly to train a pilot. And then, she said, a security bureau officer threatened to charge her with assault if she insisted on pursuing the case.

Lam described the ordeal as "horrifying" and questioned why the airline would allow such a ruthless individual to become a pilot.

"A pilot, who will have hundreds of lives in his hands, can risk his life and climb through a balcony on the 18th floor to commit a crime, and the airline only thinks of its training costs, but does not consider the safety of future passengers," she wrote.

A lawyer at Ying Ke Law Firm in the mainland, Chen Ting, said she believed the security bureau was taking advantage of the victim, who is not familiar with mainland law, and trying to convince her to give up pursuing the man's criminal responsibility.

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