Court rejects appeal by Uber driver who indecently assaulted drunk passenger

Uber driver Lam Cheuk-yin at a previous court appearance. Screengrab via Apple Daily.
Uber driver Lam Cheuk-yin at a previous court appearance. Screengrab via Apple Daily.

A Hong Kong court has rejected an appeal by an Uber driver to overturn his conviction for groping a drunk female passenger.

Lam Cheuk-yin, 37 was sentenced to nine months in jail last year after the High Court found him guilty of one count of indecent assault.

He appealed the sentence in March, but Deputy High Court Judge Pang Chung-ping dismissed Lam’s appeal yesterday, and said his conviction and sentence should stand, reports.

The outlet reports that Pang disagreed with assertions by Lam’s lawyer that the appellant thought the victim had consented to being kissed and touched, and in an echo of Lam’s borderline victim-blaming defense, questioned why the woman failed to leave the vehicle even when she was propositioned.

Judge Pang, however, said these arguments were ridiculous, saying that the victim and Lam didn’t even know each other, that Lam continued to pursue the victim even when she explicitly rejected his advances, and that if she had expressed consent, she likely wouldn’t have told her mom of the assault immediately after.

Pang added that when it comes to the trust between passengers and drivers, there was no difference between a licensed cab driver and an Uber driver, and that Lam had violated that trust, Apple Daily reports.

The judge also said that Lam knew that his victim was young and drunk, and took advantage of this to make his move. He added that the appellant’s arguments proved that he felt no remorse for what he had done, and even said he believed his nine-month sentence was too light.

Lam, who had been out on bail during the appeal process, was immediately sent to prison.

The incident in question took place in the very early hours of the morning of Nov. 5, 2017, when an 18-year-old woman hailed an Uber from Ma On Shan to her home in Cheung Sha Wan. The woman reported feeling impaired after having drank a modest amount of alcohol earlier.

During the drive, Lam allegedly asked the woman for a kiss, but she refused.

They made a quick stop at a gas station near the victim’s destination so that she could buy water and use the bathroom, but when she got back in the car, Lam drove her to a secluded spot and began to forcefully kiss her, touching her breasts, thighs, hips, and buttocks before driving her home.

The police were alerted after the victim returned home and told her mother what had happened.

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