Hong Kong police are looking to arrest a teenager for allegedly giving false testimony after she accused officers of gang-raping her in custody, a move the woman described Wednesday as an attempt to discredit her.

The rape allegation surfaced last year during the huge pro-democracy protests that struck Hong Kong and a time of intense public anger towards the city's police force.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, filed a complaint saying she was raped by four officers last September and later had an abortion, with DNA samples taken from the fetus.

But on Tuesday police chief Chris Tang said prosecutors had concluded the woman was lying about the rape.

"The Department of Justice has instructed us to arrest her on suspicion of providing a false statement," Tang said, adding the woman had "absconded" and was now a "wanted person".

Lawyers published a statement from the woman on Wednesday accusing the police chief of "publicly discrediting me and diminishing any prospects of a successful prosecution".

Public confidence in Hong Kong's police has plunged in the wake of anti-government protests
Public confidence in Hong Kong's police has plunged in the wake of anti-government protests AFP / Nicolas ASFOURI

Vidler and Co Solicitors have previously accused the police of frustrating their attempts to access evidence.

The firm said prosecutors dropped the case in April because the woman's testimony was "contrary to the evidence they obtained".

"But neither she nor her lawyers could access that particular evidence," the firm added.

Police did not respond to further enquiries.

Anger towards officers remains palpable on Hong Kong's streets even though the frequency and ferocity of protests have died down during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the protest movement's core demands was an independent enquiry into the police, but this has been resisted by the city's pro-Beijing government and senior brass.