University of Hong Kong punishes 23 students for bullying and warns ‘ragging’ will not be tolerated
School cracks down after wax attack on candidate in hall of residence council election
Three University of Hong Kong students have been ordered to leave a hall of residence and 19 others temporarily suspended from living there after an incident in which wax was poured over the lower body of a student.
Another student was given a warning over the incident, which was denounced by the dean of the hall, St John’s College, Dr Wong Kwok-chun.
“Ragging, under whatever pretext or manner, has no place in [the hall],” he said in a statement on the hall’s Facebook page. “Any violation will result in termination of residence.
”Such actions, whether done under the pretext of ‘sub-culture’ or ‘tradition’, are unacceptable.”
The victim was a candidate in the hall’s council election. He said he had dropped out of the race after the wax attack on March 21.
In a comment also posted on the Facebook page, the hall’s student association said everyone in the hall had agreed that ragging must be prohibited.
“We hereby sincerely apologise to the public for the unbecoming and irresponsible behaviour of our fellow students in the incident, which has disgraced the college and the university, and has caused unnecessary public concern,” the student association said.
HKU student union president Ed Wong Ching-tak believed the punishment would deter others.
“I respect the [hall’s] decision,” Wong said. “It will show the public that such behaviour is not our halls’ culture.”
The announcement of the punishments at St John’s came after an unknown number of students were suspended by a second HKU hall of residence after a video surfaced of a man in a maroon hoodie bearing the words “Chemistry” and “HKU” using his genitalia to strike the head of another man, who was being held down by at least two other males.
Internet users suggested the video was taken in the Simon K.Y. Lee residential hall.
The student association of Simon K.Y. Lee Hall had earlier said the warden, hall tutors and union had found the incident “raised no concern about bullying”.
The association also denied the incident had anything to do with hall traditions. The students had been suspended from the hall until a university investigation was completed, it added.