18 March 2019
Kowloon Hospital has come under scrutiny after a mentally challenged young patient was sexually abused by four other inmates. Photo: HKEJ
Kowloon Hospital has come under scrutiny after a mentally challenged young patient was sexually abused by four other inmates. Photo: HKEJ

Sexual assault on 17-year-old boy at hospital triggers alarm

Hong Kong authorities will review security and surveillance measures at the city’s public hospitals following news that a 17-year-old male patient was sexually assaulted at a healthcare facility. 

Health Secretary Ko Wing-man said he will hold discussions with Hospital Authority officials in the wake of a reported horrific incident at the Kowloon Hospital.

Apple Daily reports that police have arrested four men, aged 38 to 56, last week on suspicion that they made a young male hospital patient perform sexual acts on them. 

The suspects, who were also said to be inmates at the Kowloon Hospital, began abusing the boy since December, forcing him to perform oral sex on the older men.

Adding to the severity of the case, one of the four men who assaulted the boy — who is mentally challenged — was said to be carrying the HIV virus.

The sexual assaults came to light only on January 7 when the boy told his mother, who was visiting him at the hospital, about the incidents.

Shocked at what the son told her, the woman complained to the hospital and also alerted the police.

Kowloon Hospital, meanwhile, has faced questions over its response on the matter.

Some people allege that the hospital had tried to hide the fact that the victim has to go into antiviral drug treatment because of the events, according to Apple Daily. 

The victim has now been transferred to another public hospital.

As it is believed that he had been repeatedly sexually assaulted by the four men, the case raises concerns over security and surveillance measures at the hospital.

It also brought forth the issue of staffing shortage at public hospitals in the city. If there had been enough staff to patrol the hospital beds, the incident could have been averted, critics say.

With regard to the 17-year-old victim, it will take another three months before doctors can say if he has managed to avoid contracting AIDS.

In another case, it has been confirmed by the Kowloon Hospital that a male patient had sexually harassed a female doctor in June 2015. The patient’s actions included touching the doctor’s breasts, according to the hospital staff.

Female medical staff from the hospital had signed a petition against the patient, reports.

The hospital called the police and notified the Hospital Authority about the events, but nothing had been done to upgrade the security at the premises, the report says.

Following the latest incident, Health Secretary Ko expressed concern and said he will have talks with the Hospital Authority on ways to improve security measures and monitoring system for patients.

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