The MTR handles over 4.6 million individual trips a day and under such cramped conditions it is easy for perverts to perform their nefarious deeds. According to police reports from March 2017, 23 cases of indecency have occurred from January to March 2017, while 2016 and 2015 had 149 and 123 cases respectively. This represented a 21.1% rise (see chart one) which definitely arouses concern from residents.
In order to understand the issue of sexual harassment on the MTR and the potential introduction of female-only train cars, the DAB women affairs committee surveyed 898 residents of whom 70% were female and 30% were male. The survey discovered that unfortunately 35% of the females surveyed have suffered molestation but over 90% of them did not report them to the police. This shows that the situation with perverts on the MTR is very serious, and the reported number of crimes are too low as many cases go unreported. Thus, over 80% of female respondents approved the creation of female-only train cars on the MTR, of whom 50% said they should be available mainly during peak rush hours. Just under 80% of male respondents also agreed to the addition of female-only train cars in order to avert possible misunderstandings and accidents.
As many train systems in foreign countries such as Japan utilise female-only train cars, recently the Guangzhou-Shenzhen railway also started using them for peak rush hours. The DAB has fought for the MTR to utilise female-only train cars for many years, especially during peak rush hours. This will protect female passengers from sexual harassment. We also urge the MTR to install cctv cameras as soon as possible on all trains and we urge the police to increase the frequency of plainclothes patrols as both of these can help to cut down on the frequency of sexual molestation. At the same time we ask those who have been harassed to boldly step forward and report to the police in order that the perverted perpetrators should be bought to justice.