Two Hong Kong secondary students deny planting hidden cameras in elite school’s changing rooms and classrooms
Juvenile Court hears cameras were used to capture more than 40 videos, some of which included primary school girls
Two boys from an elite Hong Kong secondary school on Thursday denied installing hidden cameras in classrooms and campus changing rooms that captured videos of their schoolmates and primary school girls.
The Juvenile Court heard more than 40 videos were recorded using GoPro and iPad cameras across four locations at the school for about six months since September 2016. Some of the videos were later uploaded to Google Drive and YouTube.
Subsequent investigations revealed that several students, including a defendant in the present case, had discussed how and when to do the recordings in a chat group on the instant messaging platform Telegram.
The videos finally came to light on March 23 last year when two students alerted the school’s assistant disciplinary mistress upon discovering three videos taken in changing rooms were uploaded by an unknown user to a shared Google Drive.
Girls were seen changing for swimming lessons in the videos. “Some girls were so small we guessed they were primary school pupils,” the teacher said.
The changing rooms were immediately searched but no cameras were found.
But the suspects were soon identified as the assistant disciplinary mistress repeatedly watched the videos in slow motion and found a boy’s eye in the first second of a video resembling that of a Form 3 pupil.
“Deep double eyelids, big eyes,” she explained. “I thought they look alike.”
Several boys were then brought in for questioning by the school’s disciplinary masters, while the principal alerted police.
On Thursday, the 16-year-old boy pleaded not guilty to two counts of obtaining access to a computer with a view to dishonest gain for oneself or another, and to two other conspiracy charges.
Beside him was another 16-year-old, who similarly pleaded not guilty to one count of obtaining access to a computer with a view to dishonest gain for oneself or another.
The offence is punishable by five years’ imprisonment.
The two boys and their school cannot be identified for legal reasons.
Prosecutors alleged the offence spanned six months from September 2016 to March 23 last year.
Both boys were accused of setting up cameras.
One of them, an iPad, was set on the classroom floor and it captured girls walking over the device, the court heard.
Magistrate Lam Tsz-kan heard both boys gave statements to the school confessing their involvement.
But their defence counsels objected to the admission of these statements into evidence, arguing instead that their clients were induced to talk by “persons in authority” in a threatening and oppressive situation.
They also opposed the admission of the videos as they said they were extracted by teachers from the boys’ accounts and cameras despite having called police to handle the case.
The six-day trial continues.