Former HK priest charged with abuse

A former Hong Kong priest has been charged with child sex abuse and will appear in court on Thursday, a police spokesman has said.

Michael Lau, 42, was arrested last month following an investigation that has engulfed Hong Kong's Roman Catholic Church.

He has been charged with three counts of indecent assault and one count of procuring an act of gross indecency, police said on Wednesday.

Mr Lau was detained for questioning on 4 May following allegations that he abused a 15-year-old boy at a school in 1994.

He was released on bail.

Mr Lau was a trainee priest at the time of the alleged abuse, but now works as an insurance agent.

Police have been investigating a series of allegations against priests in Hong Kong.

The Church has been referring serious cases to the police, after acknowledging it had previously failed to adequately handle some of the allegations.

It now says it is adopting a "zero tolerance" policy toward sexual abuse of children.

There are about a quarter of a million Catholics in Hong Kong and the Church runs more than 300 schools and nurseries. About 300 priests work in the former British colony.