Hong Kong University clamps down on bullying and 'ragging'

The University of Hong Kong is coming down hard on those involved in bullying and “ragging” other students, after it was discovered a group poured hot wax on a student’s genitalia three weeks ago.

According to South China Morning Post, three students have been expelled, 19 temporarily suspended from living in St John’s College’s hall, and another given a warning.

“Ragging, under whatever ­pretext or manner, has no place in [the hall],” hall dean Dr Wong Kwok-chun said in a statement posted on Facebook.

Dr Wong labelled any action stemming from what the local media calls “sub-culture” or “tradition”, as “unacceptable” and said punishment, including “termination of residence”, would be taken against those who violate this rule.

The varsity’s tough rebuke comes in the wake of its investigation into another bullying incident that allegedly took place at HKU’s Simon K.Y. Lee’s residential hall. The probe was ordered earlier this month when a man wearing a maroon hoodie with the words “Chemistry” and “HKU” was caught on camera using his genitalia to strike another man’s head. An unknown number of students were suspended pending investigations.

HKU Students’ Union president Ed Wong Ching-tak labelled both bullying incidents “unacceptable”.

“I respect the [hall’s] decision,” Wong said. “It will show the public such behaviour is not our halls’ culture.”

The victim of the hot wax abuse was reportedly a candidate in the hall’s council election, but has since dropped out of the race following the attack. The identity of the victim in the other attack, on the other hand, has not been revealed.

In a statement on Facebook, St John’s College’s hall student association called for the censure and ban on “all forms of ragging, regardless of motive”.

The Students’ Association Extraordinary General Meeting, the highest authority among all HKU student bodies, also approved a resolution to bar ragging, which it defined as any action that intentionally exposes a person to “any form of cruelty, indignity, humiliation, hardship or oppression”, made possible by “overpowering position of the perpetrator”.

The body also pledged to “eradicate all forms of ragging” and embark on a “full review of all students’ activities and practices”.

“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”.

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