Female director says was nearly raped after ‘drunk man broke into her 18th floor hotel room’

A renowned Hong Kong female film director has revealed that she was almost raped by a man who had broken into her 18-floor hotel room in mainland China.

Director Sharon Lam Suk-ching (林淑貞) said ‘I felt someone pressing on top of me and touching my chest’ when she woke up in her hotel room last Monday.

She has accused a Hainan Airlines trainee pilot, identified by the surname Bai, of the attempted rape. She said the man had climbed into her room from an adjacent balcony 18 storeys up.

The trainee pilot, 27, was suspended and arrested by police this week after Ms Lam released a statement on Monday detailing the ‘horrific’ event and how Chinese police had failed to take immediate action.

Hong Kong director Sharon Lam Suk-ching said she was nearly raped in her hotel room in Haikou city, Hainan last week. She also accused Chinese police of not taking immediate action

In a statement that was posted on Weibo by mainland screenwriter Song Fangjin, Ms Lam said she was sleeping in her room on the 18th floor of the hotel in Hainan at about 6am last Monday when she suddenly felt someone on top of her.

‘I felt someone pressing on top of me and touching my chest. A stranger who was wearing only black underwear was trying to rape me. I immediately woke up and panicked. Out of self-defense, I hit him and chased him out of the room,’ she said.

Hotel staff immediately helped Ms Lam alert police.  

Ms Lam said the accused man was later identified by police as a a trainee pilot with Hainan Airlines, one of the top China-based carrier owned by Chinese conglomerate HNA Group.

Bai defended himself by saying he was drunk and that he had ‘made a mistake’, according to the statement. 

Mr Lam said that officers at the police station did not take notes or record her statement and instead asked her to settle the matter privately.

She returned to the station three days later and insisted on filing a police report. However, a person claiming to be an executive of Hainan Airlines advised her not to press charges against Bai, saying that the ‘cost of training pilots is very high’.

‘Suddenly, the police also added that if I insisted on filing charges against Bai, the police would charge me with assault for hitting him,’ Ms Lim said. She then left the station.

Ms Lam is a renowned Hong Kong director who has worked on a number a different martial arts films, including Jackie Chan’s ‘Rumble in the Bronx’ and Jet Li’s ‘The Forbidden Kingdom’ and ‘The Warlords’.

Ms Lam was in Hainan working on a drama series, 'Route', when the incident happened

Ms Lam was in Hainan working on a drama series, ‘Route’, when the incident happened

She was on the island working on a mainland web crime drama series, ‘Route’. She said in the statement that the ordeal has left her exhausted and that she has decided to leave the production and return to Hong Kong.

‘I find it unimaginable that a future pilot, who would be in control of the lives of several hundred passengers, could risk his life climbing over the balcony of an 18th-floor building while intoxicated and commit such an offence,’ she said. 

Both Hainan Airlines and Haikou city police have issued official statements on Weibo in response to the viral online discussions that followed.

The Weibo topic page bearing Ms Lam’s name has gathered more than 10 million views by Thursday. 

Haikou’s public security branch in Qiongshan district said on Tuesday that it has detained a suspect in relation to the case. The suspected was identified as a 27-year-old man with the surname Bai from Hebei and an employee of Hainan Airlines.

‘The incident has been established as a criminal case and investigations are ongoing,’ the statement said, adding that the branch is also looking into the conduct of its officers. 

‘In response to online allegations regarding potential misconduct of officers, the police disciplinary inspection department is conducting the relevant investigations,’ it said.

In a follow-up statement on Wednesday, the police said Bai has been arrested for attempted rape. The police also confirmed Ms Bai’s account of the incident. 

‘The suspect, Bai, returned to his hotel room on the 18th floor after consuming alcohol. He then climbed into Ms Lam’s room from an adjacent balcony and attempted to commit a crime. Ms Lam woke up, fought him off her and chased him out of the room,’ the police said.

The relevant officers have also been suspended, the statement added. 

Hainan Airlines has stated on Tuesday confirming that one of its employees, Bai, has been detained by police due to ‘inappropriate personal behaviour during off-duty hours’. The man has since been suspended.

‘We do not tolerate employees breaking the law,’ the statement said.

The news has caused an uproar within the entertainment industry and among Chinese net users, with many slamming the police’s ‘inappropriate’ actions. 

‘So sorry to hear you had to go through something so traumatising… no woman should EVER go through something like this. Keeping you in [my] prayers. God bless you Sharon!’ Taiwanese actor Vanness Wu who stars in ‘Route’ said on Weibo. 

‘It’s a pattern in China – justice would only be served after the incident has gone viral,’ one user said. 

A spokesperson of the Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers told MailOnline that Ms Lam is currently assisting police investigations accompanied by her lawyer. 

‘The federation’s team of lawyers in mainland China have been providing Ms Lam legal advise in the matter. We will be releasing updates on the case,’ the spokesperson added.

In a second statement released on Tuesday, Ms Lam thanked the federation, Hong Kong Film Director’s Guild and several actors and directors for their support in the matter.

‘As my lawyer told me, this is just the beginning. I still have a long road ahead,’ she said. ‘I would like to thank everyone for their support.’

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