Date
24 September 2017
Home Affairs Secretary Tsang Tak-sing Has risen up Hong Kong's ranks despite being jailed in the late 1960s. Photo: Leisure and Cultural Services Department
Home Affairs Secretary Tsang Tak-sing Has risen up Hong Kong's ranks despite being jailed in the late 1960s. Photo: Leisure and Cultural Services Department

Education chief raises criminal record specter

If it didn’t stop Home Affairs Secretary Tsang Tak-sing, it shouldn’t stop students joining Occupy Central this summer.

That’s the response some online voices have argued in response to Education Secretary Eddie Ng’s warning that students joining the movement for universal suffrage could violate the law and gain a criminal record that affects their future career, Metro Daily reported Thursday.

Tsang has scaled officialdom in the city even though he was jailed in 1967 for two years for distributing anti-government leaflets.

Nevertheless, Ng has urged schools, management committees, principals, teachers and parents to put the safety and interests of students and themselves first and not to encourage students to join the movement, Apple Daily reported.

This comes after Robert Chow, founder of the pro-Beijing Silent Majority group concerned about the harm that Occupy Central could bring, said, “We don’t want to see young people get hurt or join the movement only to find they can’t migrate or find a good school or job because they have a criminal record”.

Silent Majority has also written to the management committees and parents and teachers associations of the city’s secondary schools warning them that teachers are responsible for students aged under 18 and they might be charged and fined for negligent and intentional injury if they don’t stop students from joining the movement. Barrister Lawrence Ma, who is a member of the pro-Beijing camp, signed the letters on behalf of the group.

Ma advised schools to warn teachers and students verbally and in writing not to join the movement so that schools can meet their responsibilities.

Ming Pao Daily cited the Education Bureau as saying that it will deal with any teachers violating the law based on court judgments and will consider deregistration if the crime is serious.

Lawyers James To, from the Democratic Party, and Paul Tse, who is politically neutral, said schools are not responsible for student behavior outside the class and students have the freedom of assembly. To added that Silent Majority is just packaging some legal points to put pressure on teachers and students.

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