25 March 2019
HKU has taken action against a total of 23 students following a ragging incident in a dormitory last month. Photo: Reuters
HKU has taken action against a total of 23 students following a ragging incident in a dormitory last month. Photo: Reuters

HKU expels 3 from residential hall after ragging incident

University of Hong Kong (HKU) authorities expelled three students from a residential hall and temporarily suspended 19 others following a ragging incident on the premises last month.

In statement issued over the weekend, dean of the St. John’s College residential hall said bullying of junior students won’t be tolerated and that strict action will be taken on those who break the rule.

“Ragging, under whatever pretext or in any manner, has no place (in St. John’s),” Wong Kwok-chun said in the statement posted on the hall’s Facebook page.

Students should not misbehave or engage in ragging by using the excuse of “sub-culture” or attempt to justify any acts of bullying as “hall traditions”, the dean said.

The comments came along with the announcement that a total of 23 students have been punished over an incident that took place at the hall in March.

Following a probe into the March 21 incident, when some students entered the dormitory room of another pupil without consent and poured wax over his private parts, authorities decided to expel three students from the hall, while suspending 19 others and issuing a warning letter to one person.

Announcing the action on the 23 students who were found guilty of ragging, St. John’s College said it will provide necessary support and counseling for the other students still residing in the college.

It has been confirmed that the bullying event was targeted at a specific victim on March 21, with the perpetrators coming from different floors at the hall.

Ragging is absolutely unacceptable, dean Wong said, stressing that no excuses, such as “hall traditions”, will be tolerated.

The student association of the St. John’s College, meanwhile, has apologized for the March incident, saying that it regrets that the events have marred the name of “hall education”, Apple Daily reports.

The association agreed that it is no longer relevant whether or not there had been the intent of bullying the specific hall mate, given that the ragging actions have gone too far.

Even as authorities deal with the March incident, images have surfaced that suggest that another residential hall at the university has also witnessed a horrific case of ragging. 

In the images, said to be from the Simon K.Y. Lee Hall, students can be seen being spray-painted on their trousers. Also, a person wearing a hoodie could be seen striking the head of another person with his genitalia, according to reports.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 10

[Chinese version 中文版]

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