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

Sophie Mak

A recent court case saw the victim of bullying found guilty of physical assault

Sophie Mak |

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On May 19, a 14-year-old local girl was found guilty on two counts of physical assault. The girl reportedly lost control and lashed out at a male classmate who had been bullying her for being fat for a long time.

In court, the girl was branded a violent criminal and punished, while the boy was considered a victim.

While it seems unfair, the verdict is not unreasonable – on the surface, the girl did physically hurt the boy, and he had bruises to prove that.

A trial is based on truth and hard facts; it is not there to decipher issues of morality. Of course, the court will look at both sides of the case and judge whether the actions were reasonable. In this case, however, the defendant’s explanation that being humiliated caused her to lose control was not enough.

Nonetheless, it seems that the court was much more focused on the consequences of her actions than the reasons behind them.

According to her statements, the defendant had no intention of fighting; what she did was only an act of retaliation for the abuse she has suffered over the years. The girl said on the day of the attack, the boy deliberately tripped her up with a chair and made rude jokes about her. She retaliated by throwing a chair at him.

In the above case, the judge reportedly challenged the defendant by asking her, “How is it incorrect if your classmate calls you fat?” and, “If your classmates say you are thin, you will say they are being sarcastic”.

His words were inflammatory and discriminating, not something a supposedly impartial judge should utter. His demeaning and hurtful remarks did not help the case. Rather, they only further humiliated the victim.

This clearly shows why bullying is such a problem in Hong Kong. Neither the government nor schools have any solid strategies to curb bullying.

And society is not willing to face up to the fact that it is indirectly allowing bullying to happen by constantly making allowances for bullies. The words of a blatantly tactless judge prove this.