23 October 2016
Chuk Yuen (South) Estate in Wong Tai Sin was the scene of the latest student suicide in Hong Kong. Photo: Wikipedia
Chuk Yuen (South) Estate in Wong Tai Sin was the scene of the latest student suicide in Hong Kong. Photo: Wikipedia

Concern grows over student suicides as teen jumps to death

A 15-year-old is believed to have jumped to his death early Monday in Hong Kong, the second such case in three days involving the student community in the city.

Henry Chow Yu-hang, a Secondary Four student at St Bonaventure College and High School, was found lying unconscious on Nga Chuk Street in Wong Tai Sin at about 12:11 am.

A passer-by spotted him and alerted the police, who arrived with paramedics. Chow was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police suspect that Chow jumped off a shopping mall in Chuk Yuen (South) Estate as the student’s mobile phone was left at the podium of the mall.

Officers didn’t find any suicide note at the scene, but it is believed that Chow took his life due to academic pressures.

Apple Daily cited a source as saying that Chow sent a text message to his mother at midnight Monday and told her he doesn’t want to go to school or live anymore.

Chow is said to have been absent from school for several days before his death.

One of his friends who is medical student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) said Chow was enthusiastic about running and that his team had just won first place in a recent 4×400-meter interschool race competition.

The suicide came after a 20-year-old woman who was studying medicine at CUHK jumped to her death from her flat in Fan Ling on Saturday.

Data shows that there have been 18 student suicides in Hong Kong since the city’s current school year began in September last year.

Seven of the cases involved university students while ten pertained to high school students and one case involved a person studying at the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education.

Expressing concern about the phenomenon, Tsang Chin-kwok, director of the non-governmental organization Samartian Befrienders Hong Kong, said most cases of student suicides are related to academic issues or depression.

Many young people of this generation are single children in their families and they lack the ability to tackle problems, Tsang said.

The students feel frustrated easily and tend go to extremes when they do not perform well in academic studies.

Dr. Lobo Louie of the Department of Physical Education at the Hong Kong Baptist University, was quoted by Ming Pao Daily as saying that normally a young person like Chow who loves sports would think positively and is less unlikely to be bothered by depression.

Chow’s suicide should be treated as an isolated case, he said.

Students who perform well in sports but not in academic studies can work their way to become professional coaches, as there are undergraduate or associate degree courses provided by different institutions, he said.

Many private clubs, schools, community centers or NGOs need coaches or assistants in sports and recreation activities, Louie noted.

EJ Insight supports efforts to help people deal with depression and related issues. Here is the 24-hour multilingual suicide prevention hotline of The Samaritans: +852 2896 0000 (or email [email protected]).

– Contact us at [email protected]


EJI Weekly Newsletter