HK film student who stripped naked and tied red rope to genitals during Pride Parade performance denies indecently exposing himself

06-May-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

A Hong Kong university student who stripped naked and tied a red rope around his genitals in a street performance during last year’s Pride Parade has denied committing indecency in public.

Wong Wing-fung, 21, was accused of indecently exposing himself, without lawful authority or excuse, on Hennessy Road in Wan Chai during the annual march on November 17.

Eastern Court Magistrate Pang Leung-ting on Thursday found Wong had a case to answer to one count of indecency in public, an offence punishable by six months’ imprisonment and a HK$1,000 fine (US$128). He pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The final-year student at Baptist University’s Academy of Film maintained he was merely taking part in performance art, through which he hoped to convey ideas of bodily autonomy and identity.

“I believe protests are the safest place to fully express our views on any issue,” Wong said on Thursday.

A video played in court showed Wong standing naked in the middle of the road, his body tied to a nearby pedestrian railing with a red rope taped to the ground and wrapped around his waist and genitals. Marchers were seen walking past him and over the rope, with a few stopping to take pictures and to talk to him.

Police arrived in under three minutes and arrested him for acts outraging public decency after issuing two warnings. Wong was led away after he put on his briefs.

Wong told the court the red rope symbolised the constraints placed upon his identity as a closet homosexual. Placing the rope on the ground for marchers to walk over symbolised people overcoming the obstacle of his identity, he said.

I believe protests are the safest place to fully express our views on any issue

Wong Wing-fung, defendant

His plan was to stand naked for about five to 10 minutes and pretend to burn the Bible, which he believed was another form of constraint placed on morality.

“Why did you have to express this message in the nude?” defence counsel Hectar Pun Hei SC asked.

Wong replied that being fully naked expressed the idea of having complete autonomy over one’s body, adding that nude protests were seen in Britain, Spain and Russia.

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The footage was later included in a 30-minute documentary for his final-year honours project.

At issue was whether the act was considered indecent.

Wong apologised to police when officers reportedly claimed he was guilty of an offence that had affected others. But on Thursday he argued his nudity was not indecent, which would involve sexual harassment or arousal.

“There is no direct relationship between nudity and indecency,” the student said. “Nudity in itself is neutral, whether it is considered indecent depends on the circumstances.”

Senior assistant director of public prosecutions Derek Lai Kim-wah questioned if the march was an appropriate occasion when there were children and babies present.

“I had the impression that women had intentionally avoided looking at you,” he said.

But he withdrew the question after Pun complained: “I hope your questions are based on facts.”

“I’ll save that for submissions,” the prosecutor said.

Closing arguments will be heard on May 14.


Category: Hong Kong

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