Date
22 October 2017
A DAB online survey showed over 70 percent of the respondents support the introduction of female-only carriages on MTR trains. Photo: HKEJ
A DAB online survey showed over 70 percent of the respondents support the introduction of female-only carriages on MTR trains. Photo: HKEJ

MTR urged to launch trial for women-only carriages

The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) is urging MTR Corp. to introduce female-only carriages as a trial scheme, but the rail operator said it has no intention to do so.

The call came after a survey conducted by the pro-Beijing political party showed that most female respondents wanted “pink carriages” to be added to MTR trains so they could be better protected against sexual harrasment or indecent assaut aboard, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

According to the survey, which interviewed 591 women and 307 men aged 12 or above through online questionnaires between June 26 and July 12, about 35 percent of the female respondents said they had been victims of indecent assault in MTR carriages.

Of the victims, about nine in ten did not turn to the police for help and chose to stay silent mainly because they thought it was hard to produce evidence or they wanted to avoid the embarrassment.

Forty-six male respondents also said they had experienced actual or attempted sexual assault aboard the MTR trains.

Police said 23 indecent assault cases on MTR trains were reported in the first three months of this year. For the whole of last year, a total of 149 such cases were reported, up 21 percent from 2015.

The DAB survey found that 80 percent of women and nearly 65 percent of men support women-only carriages, which have been seen in Guangzhou and Shenzhen in the mainland, Japan and several other countries.

Noting that the actual number of victims of indecent assault on MTR trains is far more than the reported cases, lawmaker Elizabeth Quat, who is chairwoman of the DAB women’s affairs committee, said women-only carriages are necessary to reduce such cases as she urged victims to report to the police without hesitation, online news website hk01.com reported.

DAB’s deputy secretary-general Vincent Cheng Wing-shun suggested MTR launch a trial by designating the first and last carriages of each train to be for females only during rush hours as well as install onboard surveillance cameras.

However, MTR said it is unlikely to add women-only carriages because such an arrangement would make it more difficult for staff to manage passenger traffic.

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TL/JC/CG

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