Hong Kong schools

University of Hong Kong investigates second bullying case after video went viral

Incident in which a man is shown lightly striking the back of another student’s head with his genitalia is thought to have taken place inside a residential hall

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 April, 2017, 8:53pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 April, 2017, 10:41pm

The University of Hong Kong is looking into a second bullying claim in four days, with a video showing a man believed to be a student using his genitalia to lightly strike the back of another male’s head.

The 19-second video, which went viral, showed a man wearing a maroon hoodie that has the words “Chemistry” and “HKU” printed on it abusing another ­person, who was held down by at least two other men.

Laughter and expletives can be heard in the video, with one man saying “hit his face”.

Bullying more rampant at Hong Kong schools than overseas

A police source said police had not received any reports in connection with the two cases.

It is understood police contacted the university to determine whether the university needed assistance. But police were told that help was not needed at this stage.

Internet users are speculating that the video was taken in the Simon K.Y. Lee residential hall.

A university spokeswoman said: “The residential hall will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident to establish the facts. The university will continue to offer full support and assistance to students who have been distressed by this episode.

“The university condemns abusive or bullying acts, and protects all those affected by bullying including cyberbullying. The current investigation is not yet concluded and appropriate disciplinary procedures will be invoked whenever we consider it justified.”

The incident came a few days after a candidate in the election for the council of St John’s College, another HKU residence, quit the race amid claims that he was being bullied and personally attacked and intimidated.

He said in a Facebook post which has now been deleted that one election candidate had wax poured over his lower body by over 20 people.

The HKU spokeswoman had previously said St John’s College was conducting a comprehensive investigation into the suspected bullying. She added that appropriate disciplinary action would be taken if students were found to have been involved in improper behaviour.

Media reports say the practice was a tradition at the residential hall.

Ed Wong Ching-tak, the president of HKU Students’ Union, rejected such claims, saying that according to the union’s understanding, there were no such traditions.

He also said both bullying incidents, if proven to be true, were “unacceptable”.

Bullying cases in Hong Kong aren’t being taken seriously enough

Education lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen condemned both acts, saying they were “shocking”.

“While there has been behaviour which crossed the line during university orientation camps in recent years, it was not on this scale,” the former school principal and HKU alumnus said.

He believed this kind of behaviour among students could be the result of the general mood in society as well as what they are exposed to on the internet.

Shirley Na, a clinical psychologist at Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service, believed both incidents constituted bullying and they could result in psychological and physical trauma.

While it depended on the individual, Na noted that the most common effects included avoiding certain people or things or having flashbacks of traumatic experiences.

She said if a victim experienced such symptoms for more than a month, he or she should find someone to talk to and seek professional help.

Additional reporting by Clifford Lo