A Chinese Movie Star Is Accused Of Sexual Assault In Australia. Here’s What Happened At His Bail Hearing.

    Yunxiang Gao is behind bars in Australia over sexual assault allegations.

    A movie star accused of sexually assaulting a TV producer wouldn't flee Australia before facing trial because he’s too famous to disappear into obscurity in China, a court has been told.

    Yunxiang Gao, 35, was in Australia shooting a TV show when he and another man allegedly sexually assaulted a woman after a night out at a karaoke bar earlier this year.

    The actor, known for roles in the 2012 action film Drug War and the TV drama Legend of Mi Yue, and producer Jing Wang, have each been charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault over the events early in the morning of March 27 at the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney.

    Gao’s wife Xuan Dong, who is also an actor, was present at court, along with their preschool-aged child, and Gao’s mother. The family has relocated to Australia and leased an apartment in Chatswood while the legal proceedings take place, the court heard.

    The crowded courtroom was full of journalists and onlookers, with several people taking seats on the floor and others standing along the wall of the courtroom.

    Gao’s barrister John Korn told Justice Lucy McCallum that even if Gao wanted to flee to China to avoid trial, he wouldn’t be able to because he is so well known and because the case has been reported widely there.

    “It simply can’t happen,” Korn said. “He simply couldn’t slip back and disappear into anonymity.”

    “It’s one thing to say he would be motivated to stay and clear his name," said Justice McCallum. "But if the Crown case is stronger than it can be made to look, wouldn’t he have a strong incentive to flee the jurisdiction? Wouldn’t leaving Australia and facing that ignominy be a rational choice to a person facing a long jail term in Australia?”

    Korn said that you have to look at what Gao and his family have done so far.

    “His wife and his child uprooting themselves from China, moving to Australia, setting up home here," he said. "Mum’s come over as well. Those are significant steps, not just because they represent money, but because they represent the attitude of Mr Gao and his family to investing in Australia and being a part of these proceedings.

    “Why would somebody such as the applicant’s wife go to the trouble she has?”

    McCallum responded: “Because she thinks it’s a ridiculous allegation. But it’s not uncommon in sexual assault matters for a family to rally behind the person accused … people can present themselves very differently to their families than they might to a girl at two o’clock in the morning.”

    “His wife isn’t going to let that happen," Korn replied. "How is he going to be able to look her in the eye and say, 'I’m taking off?'”

    Korn also said the case against Gao was weak and that allegations have to be “plausible, reliable, consistent” and supported by other evidence.

    CCTV footage appears to show Gao going towards the hotel room and coming back from it 36 minutes later, said McCallum.

    "I’m told there’s his DNA on a bloodspot on the doona and his semen on a pillowcase which was the pillowcase on the floor which is exactly consistent with what the complainant describes,” she said.

    Korn said he "could not imagine" it being argued that Gao was not in the room, or that sexual activity didn't occur.

    “The question is whether in fact it was consensual or not," Korn said. "It would be absurd to imagine otherwise."

    CCTV footage from the night shows the woman kissing Jing Wang, and also rejecting his advances at various points of the evening, the court heard.

    "It is not accurate to say this is a case of such unequivocality that a conviction is almost inevitable," Korn said.

    Gao is also prepared to wear an electronic monitor if released, the court heard. He is currently being held in protective custody.

    The case against Gao is “very strong”, and CCTV footage shows the woman rejecting Wang’s advances earlier in the evening, the Crown prosecutor told the court.

    The prosecutor said that if the woman was rejecting Wang's advances, then the conclusion could be drawn that it was unlikely she would have consented to having sex with him, and to having sex with Gao, later in the evening.

    The prosecutor also argued that Gao would have good reason to flee to China.

    “If the applicant is weighing up the cost-benefit of fleeing as opposed to a conviction surely he would prefer the consequences of flight over those of conviction,” he said.

    The prosecutor ran through the people who had said they would provide surety for Gao, arguing that none of them besides his wife had a close relationship with him.

    One person “doesn’t appear to know the applicant other than being a distant relative” and another “says he was born in the same city as him, and that the applicant’s wife has spent many hours with his family”, he said.

    “Why would the loss of these people’s money cause the applicant any concern? He has tenuous relationships at best with them.”

    Justice McCallum will rule on the bail application on Friday at 2pm.