Police cleared of strip-search charge on Filipina suspect
The magistrate said he did not see any reason to doubt the evidence given by the five officers
A judge at the Eastern Magistrates Court on Wednesday rejected charges of misconduct involving alleged repeated strip-searches by police officers of a Filipina maid accused of theft.
Judge Simon Ho said he did not find any material substance in the defendant’s accusations against the officers, who arrested her and handled her case, sunwebhk.com reported.
Defendant Margie Lotino, who worked for a family in Pokfulam on Hong Kong Island, said that during the body searches, female investigators singularly or in pairs allegedly ordered her to strip down to search for any stolen items.
The body searches reported started from the night she was arrested in her employer’s house in January and continued at Western Police Station and Wanchai Police Station.
But the magistrate said he did not see any reason to doubt the evidence given by the five officers, who all said during cross-examination that they did not remember any of the incidents cited by Lotino.
The magistrate said he based his decision on the grounds that the complaints against the officers were not mentioned in the affidavit that Lotino submitted in court. He said the charges were added when the case was already being heard in court.
Lotino pleaded not guilty on March 13 to a charge that she stole HK$500 (US$63) and a lip balm from her female employer, purportedly a police officer, on Jan. 2.
When the case went to trial on April 20, her lawyer raised the issue of the alleged police misconduct.