Over 100 women voice sexual harassment complaints against top Hong Kong athlete

Gi Ka-man, 36, is a record-holding distance runner in Hong Kong. Scores of women say they are victims of his sexual harassment. Photo via Facebook/Gi Ka-man
Gi Ka-man, 36, is a record-holding distance runner in Hong Kong. Scores of women say they are victims of his sexual harassment. Photo via Facebook/Gi Ka-man

Scores of women have come forward with sexual assault complaints against a top Hong Kong athlete, who they say used his position as a running coach to harass female students.

According to an Apple Daily report, over 100 women say they were victims of harassment at the hands of Gi Ka-man, a 36-year-old long-distance runner and running coach at a club he founded.

The accusations flooded in last week when Gi shared a post mocking a former running student who said he attempted to lure her into his car after practice.

His post was met with a barrage of comments, many of them making light of the situation, and some accusing the athlete of behaving in a similarly inappropriate way.

One person said that in 2016, Gi asked her out to go kayaking with him. He drove her to Sai Kung, and since it was a long ride, Gi told her to sleep if she is tired and that he would wake her up when they arrived. While she was asleep, she was jolted awake when she felt him groping her breasts.

Another said that in 2018, Gi drove her home after running practice and before she alighted from the car, he grabbed her hands and tried to bite her nose.

On Sunday, he wrote on Facebook that he had “reflected on his past behavior”and acknowledged that he had not “seriously handled matters relating to feelings.”

“I apologize sincerely to everyone I’ve hurt,” he said, but did not remark on whether the sexual assault accusations were true.

Ms. A (alias), a former student of Gi, told Apple Daily that the coach used his running club as a “hunting ground” to prey on women. She said he had gone as far as attempting to rape a student while trail running with her, bringing her to a house mid-route and pushing her down onto a bed.

Gi founded the running club in 2011, attracting a fair number of students who were attracted to his reputation as a prominent athlete in the city.

The coach is Hong Kong’s record holder for the men’s half marathon, the 15 km and the 10,000 m, all titles he has held onto for more than eight years.

According to Apple Daily, the victims have approached RainLily, an NGO that supports sexual assault survivors, for help. RainLily told Coconuts it cannot confirm whether it is working with the victims due to privacy reasons.

Read more: A Hong Kong Instagram page posting creepily taken shots of women is a reflection of the city’s patriarchal society

While the #MeToo movement has taken off in cities around the world, Hong Kong—a traditionally conservative society where gender inequality is often denied and a “blame the victim” attitude condoned—has yet to have its reckoning.

It’s not the first time that the city’s sports sector has seen accusations of sexual assault. In 2012, athlete Vera Lui took to social media to publicly accused her former coach of sexually harassing her when she was a pre-teen.

But the case did not receive the widespread coverage and support she had hoped when she hashtagged her Facebook post with #metoo, with some not believing her and claiming she was spinning a tale for fame.

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CITY: HONG KONGCATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: SPORTS

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