Blind woman sees justice

Local | Sophie Hui 17 May 2019

A former director of a care home who had faced a series of sexual assault accusations revolving around disabled females was yesterday found guilty of attacking a visually impaired girl at his school more than three decades ago.

Upon being found guilty by District Court Judge Ernest Lin Kam-hung on five counts of indecent assault, Cheung Kin-wah, 57, was remanded in custody for sentencing on June 6.

The offenses took place on five occasions - at the school and a summer camp - from 1982 to 1986.

It included Cheung kissing, groping and rubbing the victim, referred to as X, with the abuse starting when she was seven. She is now 44 and totally blind.

She had studied at the school for the visually impaired since she was four. Besides light, she could make out of shapes of people and big characters.

Cheung, then in his 20s, studied and boarded at the same school before becoming an event assistant there.

Lin said although X could not recall all details of the assaults he trusted her testimony.

He noted that X had some sight at the time and could make out facial features, shapes and skin colors at close range. And her other senses were more developed, which helped her identify someone.

Lin also said there was no evidence of animosity between X and Cheung, and she had no motive to falsely accuse him. She was a shy and quiet student, Lin added, and not seek help and report the assaults at the time as Cheung was a star student, and X was afraid other students would ostracize her.

Several witnesses told the court there was only one "big brother Kin-wah" in the school at the time, Lin added.

Lin also believed Cheung exaggerated the seriousness of his vision impairment as he admitted going to the mainland many times on his own. He also walked up steps to the witness box without assistance.

X reported the indecent assaults to police in 2016 after hearing about Cheung on the news.

Cheung, who won a bronze medal for swimming at the 1984 Paralympic Games, was also involved in two sexually related crimes previously but was found innocent in one case while the prosecution withdrew the charge in the other.

Still, his social worker registration was revoked last year.

Democratic Party lawmaker Roy Kwong Chun-yu welcomed the verdict.

He launched a online signature online petition against Cheung about his previous cases, and more than 100,000 people signed it.

It it took a lot of courage for X to tell the court about her ordeal, Kwong added, and he thinks her case is only tip of the iceberg. So he encouraged other victims to make their voices heard.

sophie.hui@singtaonewscorp.com

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