A 24-year-old local man with a criminal record for sexual harassment in Macao and the mainland was arrested last Friday for committing the same crime involving another local schoolboy in the city’s northern district, Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Lai Chio Hong said at a special press conference on Wednesday.
The suspect surnamed Lam told the police that he works as a doorman.
According to Lai, PJ officers were notified by a secondary school in the northern district through the School Safety Network on Friday that a male junior middle school pupil had been approached by a man who claimed he would help him tie his shoelaces and touched his ankle when he was on his way home after school on Thursday evening.
Lai said that the Judiciary Police attached great importance to the incident and immediately dispatched officers to investigate. Thanks to CCTV footage, PJ officers identified Lam and detained him near his workplace on Friday when he was taken to a police station for further investigation.
According to information of the last arrest on 9 September, Lam told the police that he graduated from a university in the mainland this year and returned to Macao in May. He admitted that he committed the sexual harassment in early September and revealed that he served a one-year prison term for sexual harassment in the mainland. He also confessed that he had committed the same kind of crime about 10 times since his return to Macao in May until September.
Lam was transferred to the Public Prosecutions Office (MP) on Sunday, facing a child sexual abuse charge. Lai did not reveal the schoolboy’s age.
The head of the Judiciary Police’s Youth Concern Group, Chiu Chu Wai Man, pointed out during the press conference that the speedy detection of the case this time was due to the pupil’s “courage” to seek help from the school. The case also reflected the effectiveness of the School Safety Network’s communication mechanism, Chiu said.
Chiu underlined that the Judiciary Police have been continuing to send officials to various schools to hold lectures on “Prevention of Sexual Assault and Methods of Seeking Help” to educate school officials and parents how to prevent young people from being sexually assaulted and raise their awareness of self-protection.
In 2019, the Judiciary Police held 28 lectures at various schools involving 5,329 attendees, Chiu said.
In response to recent sexual assault cases involving teenagers, the police have also been providing training to school staff and counsellors as well as parents to improve their crime prevention awareness, according to Chiu.
Chiu urged youngsters to be vigilant, protect themselves and pay attention to strangers acting suspiciously by approaching or following them. When suspecting or witnessing any illegal behaviour, they should leave the scene while ensuring their own safety and report the case to parents, teachers, their school’s social worker or the police as soon as possible for help.