Hong Kong hurdler Vera Lui Lai-yiu , among the few prominent women in the city to reveal an experience of alleged sexual assault amid the #metoo movement, is considering legal action after receiving abuse from trolls online, according to reports.
Lui, who’s nicknamed “the queen of hurdles” discussed the online harassment on Sunday at an event in Wan Chai, where she was presented with a HK$53,000 (US$6,780) training grant from the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association for her bronze-medal winning performance at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia in August, according to Apple Daily.
The 24-year-old said she’d been on the receiving end of “excessive” abusive behavior online, including netizens creating fake pages in her name in an attempt to solicit cash to “promote sport”.
In a recording featured on an Apple Daily video report, Lui can be heard saying: “Some of the incidents include using my name and pretending to be me, sending WhatsApp messages and saying ‘hi my name is Lui Lai-yiu and I urgently need money to promote sports.’ These kinds of actions confuse a lot of people close to me especially my agent, because then he gets non-stop messages from a lot of people.”
She said although she has recovered from the incident, she was still receiving a lot of online abuse.
“I am discussing the situation with my agent and legal action should be one of the options.”
Lui first revealed the alleged misconduct in a social media post 12 months ago. She claimed she’d been inappropriately touched by an athletics coach during a massage at his home when she was a teenager.
Last month, a coach accused of sexually assaulting an athlete more than eight years ago was found not guilty. The verdict held the claims were not proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
Despite the harassment online, Lui said she had remained focused on her career, reported the SCMP and was determined to break Hong Kong’s 100-meter hurdles record of 13.14 seconds, set more than two decades ago about Chan Sau-ying.
The #metoo movement has seen countless women have shared their experiences of sexual harassment and assault online along with the hashtag.
It began in the wake of a recent New York Times exposé last year detailing dozens of sexual harassment and assault complaints made against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who used his power to bully aspiring actresses into sexual favors.