A pro-establishment lawmaker who set up a group to monitor class boycotts in secondary schools in Hong Kong claims it is illegal for schools to allow such protests, while students have initiated another form of action to push their demands.
Junius Ho Kwan-yiu, who initiated an “anti-class boycott” campaign last week, said they discovered nine schools had experienced class boycotts on Monday and Tuesday.
Ho said the group sent out 46 teams of volunteers from a pro-government local body called the “Huichow Associations” to go check and monitor 101 schools which have students planning to stage class boycotts.
Last week, Ho sent letters to the schools and demanded that they stop the class boycotts.
They checked whether anti-extradition bill posters or promotional material was being posted at the schools and if any students were wearing black or chanting slogans.
Six schools criticized
He criticized six schools which the group has classed as “more serious” cases because they let protesters wearing black and carrying political banners come inside and set up Lennon Walls (areas where people can post notes).
Masked students had also shouted slogans such as “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times!” He suspected if this was action by alumni from these schools.
The six schools he named were La Salle College, Ying Wah College, CNEC Lee I Yao Memorial Secondary School, Chan Sui Ki (La Salle) College, Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Sun Hoi Directors’ College and Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity.
Ho said his group would report evidence about these cases, such as photos and videos, to the Education Department.
Earlier, Education secretary Kevin Yeung Yun-hung stressed that authorities were opposed to any class boycott and they would call head teachers to see if there were any “anomalies”, but would leave it to schools to decide if any punishment was needed.
Schools should be liable: MP
Meanwhile, another pro-government lawmaker, Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, suggested that schools should be liable for their students’ behaviour, as secondary students under 18 should not have the autonomy to boycott classes.
If the school and their teachers failed to take any action, they might be subject to criminal liability, Leung said.
HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity in Kowloon City, one of the six schools named by Ho, issued a statement condemning the lawmaker for causing disruption to school daily operations and threatening staff and students’ safety.
The school said anonymous strangers had been loitering outside the campus recently. It also noted black t-shirts were part of the school’s uniform.
It asked Ho to stop his “irrational behavior”, so they could return to being a calm campus for teachers and students.
‘Don’t disturb schools’
A spokesperson from the Education Bureau advised any groups not to disturb school operations.
Meanwhile, secondary students and supporters continued their school protests after chief executive Carrie Lam officially announced on Wednesday that the controversial extradition bill would be scrapped.
Human chains formed by students, alumni and other supporters were seen in various districts, including King’s College in Sai Ying Pun on Hong Kong Island, plus four schools in Tuen Mun in the New Territories and others in Kowloon and late at night in Shatin and Tin Shui Wai.
On Thursday night, there was a confrontation at Hang Hau MTR Station between protesters and police.
The standoff outside the station lasted two hours, with police inside the station and people chanted anti-police slogans outside. Around midnight, police rushed out and chased people into nearby housing area.
A woman was intercepted and surrounded by a group of police in On Ning Garden, but the officers refused to give a reason for why they chased the woman. Bystanders were angry and soon, over 100 residents came out, complaining that police were causing a nuisance in the housing estate.
It was later learned that the woman took out her phone and tried to film police actions. She said she wanted to protect herself but the officer claimed she had obstructed police doing their duty.
One man, who said he’d been knocked down in the chase, was taken to hospital. The standoff eventually ended after the MTR station closed.