A transgender woman from South America claims that immigration and customs officers behaved “like animals” during a body search and mocked her during a nine-hour ordeal at Chek Lap Kok airport. Hong Kong officials strenuously deny the allegations and insist proper procedures were followed amid initial suspicions about her identity and the reason she arrived here from Taiwan. The woman, who wants her name and nationality withheld for legal reasons, is now applying for asylum in the city. She fears that if she returns to the country of her birth she will be killed by bigots whose violent attacks she says forced her to leave. On her arrival in Hong Kong on September 16 she claims staff ridiculed her because she was dressed as a woman. She was refused entry because immigration officials could not verify her explanation about the passport with her country’s consulate. Later, two male customs officers took her to a small room to carry out a body search despite her repeated requests for a woman. She says they touched her penis and breasts with their hands, a claim customs officials deny. She was released when officials verified her story.
The woman also claims she was mistreated by staff at Queen Elizabeth Hospital who wrongly diagnosed her as a psychiatric patient on September 30 and put her in restraints. The hospital says the action was necessary as she was suicidal.