My Take

At HKU, grandstanding at taxpayers’ expense

Law student and sore loser Michael Mo is wasting the court’s time on a judicial review of governing council election after his defeat to mainland rival Zhu Ke

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 February, 2017, 1:26am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 February, 2017, 1:27am

The Independent Commission Against Corruption has declined to take up his case. The University of Hong Kong’s governing council has concluded there was nothing to investigate. So, what’s a freedom-loving and politically active law student to do?

You guessed it – apply for a judicial review.

Michael Mo Kwan-tai lost to mainland rival Zhu Ke in the election of a postgraduate student representative to the council last year. After his defeat, he alleged Zhu sent “electronic” red packets to student voters on WeChat. Zhu said he sent the e-packets as a kind of thank-you note to his supporters – their amounts ranging from 0.17 to 1.43 yuan!

Well, we all know how corrupt mainlanders are. For less than a yuan, they would sell their own mothers.

Red packet bribe accusations taint University of Hong Kong student elections

Explaining his judicial application against the council, Mo was quoted as saying: “This ridiculous university’s governing body has made a university running on Hong Kong taxpayers’ money no longer prioritise the interests of Hongkongers.” And I thought HKU was an institution that required fluency in English.

Is it possible that complaining to the university council, the ICAC and now the High Court over such small amounts is a real waste of taxpayer money? You wouldn’t be surprised that Mo has had the support of such usual suspects as the HKU Academic Staff Association and students’ union known for their anti-mainland McCarthyism.

Out of curiosity, I dug up their electoral platforms. Zhu promised to fight for academic improvements such as increasing the number of taught courses in addition to research programmes. He wanted more and cheaper living accommodation for postgraduate students and enhancing psychological counselling for those under stress. By contrast, Mo wanted to abolish the post of university chancellor for the city’s chief executive; investigate the finances of the HKU-Shenzhen Hospital; defend academic freedom and autonomy; and open council meetings to the public.

HKU Council defends recent decision to dismiss vote-buying allegations

You can see why a postgraduate student who wanted to study hard and have an easier life on campus would vote for Zhu. By the way, Zhu had a winsome smile and wore a nice suit in his election photo. Mo wore a T-shirt and looked like he was really upset and indignant about someone or something: it was the look of a young man baying for a fight.

It’s such grandstanding as Mo’s that gives judicial review applicants a bad name.