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Retired British doctor accused of indecent assault on FDH during massage, whipping sessions

07 March 2021

 By Daisy CL Mandap 

The hearing of the case in Eastern Court has been extended for 2 more days

Sordid tales of sexual assaults allegedly committed by a retired British surgeon on his former foreign domestic helper during a “body check-up”, massage and whipping sessions, were heard in Eastern Court on Mar 4 and 5.

The allegations against Dr. Brian Drew Apthorp, 83, came from his alleged victim, a Filipina domestic worker in her ‘30s, who worked for him between September 2018 and August 2019.

The helper, referred to only as "Miss X", gave evidence during the first two days of the trial of Apthorp on two indecent assault charges before Magistrate Daniel Tang. 

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The trial, which was originally set to last for two days, will continue for two more days, on Apr 21 and 22.

To bolster its case, the prosecution presented four video clips secretly taken by the helper showing her massaging a fully naked Apthorp. In one of the videos, a hand which Miss X identified was hers, was pulled and made to hold the man’s exposed genitals.

Several devices said to have been used during the “Whipping Thursday” sessions were also presented in court. The prosecution said the tools were seized from the doctor’s house on Shouson Hill Road in Wong Chuk Hang during his arrest.

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Apthorp, who denied the charges, chose to defend himself. During his cross-examination of his accuser, the still sprightly defendant tried to portray himself as the victim, saying it was the helper who forced him to submit to the whipping sessions.

“I was so depressed I could not complain,” he said, adding it was Miss X who chose the tools that were used during the whippings.

He did not deny making the helper submit to a body check and pap smear, but insisted he explained to her that the procedure was meant to protect her from HPV (human papillomavirus), an infection that commonly affects the genitals.

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He ended his questioning by accusing the helper of stealing an electric fan worth $800, creating trouble in his house, and extorting money from him. He cited as proof a personal injury claim for $169,000 that she filed against him at the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Stung by the accusation, the Filipina asked the magistrate to allow her to speak at the end of her testimony. She then tearfully lashed out at her alleged tormentor.

Hindi ko ginagawa ito para sa sarili ko kundi para sa lahat ng mga foreign domestic helper na nagtrabaho sa kanya at inabuso niya,” Miss X said.

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(I am doing this not for myself but for all the foreign domestic helpers who had worked for him and were abused by him).

She also said her experience had left her so distraught that she needed counseling and was unemployed for more than a year.

The alleged offenses happened in a house on ritzy Shouson Hill (file)

During questioning by the prosecutor, the helper gave details of how her elderly employer had allegedly touched her breasts, then stuck his fingers in her genitals while pretending to do a body check on her the day after he signed her contract in September 2018.

When the magistrate asked her how she knew the accused had inserted fingers into her and not a medical tool, the helper said she was a mother, and knew how it was like to undergo a medical check-up.

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She said the experience left her scared but Janice, a fellow Filipina helper who was then working for Apthorp, told her not to worry as “it was just a regular pap smear.”

Then in November of that year, after she had moved into Aprthorp’s house, she started doing daily body massage on the elderly man, who is said to have a pacemaker implanted in his chest.

During one of these sessions, which always started at 9am, the employer told her to pinch his nipples. She said she complied, then left when he saw him masturbating.

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The next time, she said he directly asked her to help him masturbate, so she tried to run away.

Pero nang akma na akong aalis, hinila niya ang aking kamay at nilagay niya sa kanyang ari. Hindi ko mahawakan kasi ako ay nandidiri. Pero hindi ko din mahila kasi tataob ako sa kanya,” she said.

(But as I tried to leave, he pulled my hand and put it on his genitals. I didn’t want to touch it as I felt disgusted. But I also couldn’t pull it way because I would land on top of him).


Afterwards, she said she got scared because Apthorp would shout at her whenever she resisted. He alternated this with pleas of “help me empty my balls” each time she tried to struggle.

In December, she said the employer decided to punish her for resisting his orders. He allegedly told her to cut and pull off all the bamboo trees in his garden, then haul them up several flights of stairs to dump them by the roadside.

Later, when he saw her taking a lunch break, he allegedly told her to stop and to pull down several heavy folders from her room, as further punishment.

She said the physical ordeal left her feeling scared of being "punished" again that she began submitting to his demands.

That same month, the employer initiated the weekly Whipping Thursday session, during which she was told to use numbered tools to whip him around the buttocks as he stood in front of a mirror. The whipping would then be followed by the sleazy massage routine.

The helper said she was made to massage him daily, except on days when Apthorp’s girlfriend was around. 

The alleged sexual assaults lasted until early April, 2019, when Apthorp left for his annual vacation in Europe.

Miss X is being helped by Help and Legal Aid in pursuing her cases

Miss X, who said she had been so traumatized and shamed by her experiences, took the chance to seek help. She consulted non-government organization Help for Domestic Workers, and sent them her videos.

On Jul 29, 2019 she emailed a notice of termination to Apthorp, who was then still on vacation. In turn, the employer decided to fire her the next month.

With Help’s assistance, the helper filed a complaint with the police, then applied for legal aid to pursue a personal injuries claim against Apthorp. The court was told that she is also being helped by RainLily, a shelter for abused women.

Two prosecution witnesses are set to be called to give testimony when the hearing resumes. Then Apthorp, who is on police bail, can give evidence in his defense if he so chooses.

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