Two Hong Kong secondary school students have committed suicide in the space of 24 hours after the Chinese New Year holidays.

On Sunday at around 9am, a 16-year-old male secondary school student took his own life at Lee On Estate, a public housing estate in Ma On Shan.

Lee On Estate Ma On Shan
Lee On Estate. Photo: WiNG via Wikicommons.

The following day at around 6am, a 13-year-old female secondary school student took her own life at Cheung Ching Estate, a public housing estate in Tsing Yi.

The Education Bureau said that it was very saddened by the incidents, Apple Daily reported. It said that the relevant schools have activated their crisis response groups, and that the bureau has sent staff to the schools to provide support.

The bureau also referred to the final report of the Committee on Prevention of Student Suicides, published last November, which said that suicides were caused by multiple complicated interacting factors. The bureau added that it was following up with and implementing many recommendations made in the report, such as reviewing the education system to better emphasise non-academic achievements.

The committee had been established by the Education Bureau in March 2016 following a spate of student suicides.

The Education Bureau.
The Education Bureau. File

On Monday, lawmaker Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu published an email he received from a form three secondary school student, criticising the Education Bureau chief Eddie Ng Hak-kim for claiming last October that student suicides could be prevented by better life planning.

The student said that he was stressed over academic results because of the education system: “Like most of Hong Kong’s students, I can’t see any future. I’m studying repeatedly every single day, but I don’t understand the point of it.”

35 cases of student suicide were reported last year.

If you are experiencing negative feelings, please call: The Samaritans 2896 0000 (24-hour, multilingual), Suicide Prevention Centre 2382 0000 or the Social Welfare Department 2343 2255. The Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology provides a WhatsApp hotline in English and Chinese: 6218 1084.

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.