A South American transgender woman says customs officials in Hong Kong subjected her to a nine hour body search during which they behaved “like animals”.
The woman was seeking asylum in the city after she was stabbed and shot in her home country traveled from Taiwan to apply for a new passport from her home nations consulate.
She arrived at Chek Lap Kok Airport and says she was ridiculed by airport staff before being denied entry into Hong Kong as her current passport is not up to date following her transition.
Having to undergo a full body search, the woman asked for this to be done by female staff but was denied and male staff carried out the search. She has stated that the male staff members touched her intimately during the search, “They were animals. I kept asking for a female but they said if I refused [the search] they would deport me. When it was over, I was destroyed”.
Officials are denying the woman’s accusations and claim that she remained full clothed during the search: “The passenger had his clothes on during the whole search and customs officers did not touch any sensitive parts of his body.”
| Sarah Murphy