Monday, May 14, 2012

Drunk British tourist arrested in Beijing for sexual assault

A video of a British tourist sexually assaulting a local woman in Beijing has gone viral in China, prompting angry calls for him to be charged with attempted rape.

The 24-year-old man was arrested by Beijing police at 11pm on Tuesday night, after passers-by interrupted him in the act of attacking a young woman in the Xuanwumen area south of Tiananmen Square.

"The man is under detention and investigation as per the law. The man is a British national, holding a tourist visa," Beijing police said in a statement issued this morning.

The incident, which was captured on video as posted on the Youku website had been viewed more than 2.6 million times by Thursday lunchtime and has prompted thousands of incensed locals demanding the man be charged with attempted rape.

One netizen in Yantai, Shandong Province said, "Damn foreigner. You'd think it was 100 years ago when the foreigners came to China and did as they pleased."

Another said, "How dare he be so arrogant in our land."

In the video, the shaven-headed man in a white top and blue tracksuit bottoms is seen being pulled off the woman, who is lying in a flower bed by the road with her yellow dress up around her waist and screaming that she does not know the man. As the man walks away, he is stopped and punches one man in an attempt to escape. He is then set upon by a number of Chinese men who kick and punch him and can later be seen lying in the middle of the road and not moving.

According to one witness, the victim told the police that the man followed her from the Xuanwumen metro station after asking her what the time was. He then threw her into the flower bed and began touching her, while she screamed for help.

Beijing police said the man was "drunk" and was taken to the Xuanwu Hospital for treatment for the injuries he suffered during the beating he received.

People convicted of rape in China can face the death penalty, although a prison sentence of 10-20 years is a more common punishment.

Attempted rape carries a sentence of between three and 10 years.

Beijing police would not comment further on the case, while the British embassy said they had received no requests for help.

"We are aware of the case, but we haven't been approached for consular assistance," said an embassy spokesman.