Police are investigating abuse allegations at a student camp organised by prominent Hong Kong educational charity Po Leung Kuk (PLK), including one suspected case of sexual assault. However, the camp director has denied any wrongdoing by instructors.

The PLK Leadership Camp – organised on behalf of various local primary and secondary schools – has been hit with allegations of physical and verbal abuse over the past week, including claims of forcing students to eat grass and denying them water after exercise.

Photo: Po Leung Kuk Leadership Camp promotional video screenshot.

Police told Stand News that a man had requested their assistance on Wednesday after suspecting that students had been inappropriately treated at a training camp. The Wong Tai Sin police district’s crime unit said it was investigating the allegations, and so far there have been no arrests.

Report of sexual assault

Separately, the police told HKFP that it received a report of suspected sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl by her instructor at a camp near Tai Mong Tsai Road in Sai Kung on March 25 last year. The police have arrested a 25-year-old man in connection with the incident, but he has been temporarily released.

The Hong Kong Economic Times reported that the incident took place at a PLK leadership camp, and that the instructor had requested the girl to massage him during the night in her dormitory. The police said the investigation is ongoing, and that they are seeking legal advice.

Po Leung Kuk Pak Tam Chung Camp. Photo: Chong Fat via Wikimedia Commons.

HKFP has contacted the police for comment, but has not yet received a reply.

‘We can’t punish students’

Meanwhile, in an interview with Apple Daily published Friday, camp director Lo Kam-cheong denied that students had been abused. “If we really did this, which school would accept us?” he asked.

Another camp instructor told the paper that she would shout at students, but would not employ abusive methods such as calling them “worthless humans.”

More broadly, Lo claimed that students in Hong Kong today are more privileged and fragile-hearted. “You see Hong Kong society now,” he added. “We can’t punish students even if they do wrong.”

Established in 2006, the PLK Leadership Camp has been accused of employing harsh training methods in the past. The latest saga began to surface last Saturday evening after abuse allegations from a Ying Wa College student were posted onto popular Facebook page Schools Secrets.

Ying Wa College then halted its planned participation in the camp. Numerous allegations have since been made either online or reported by local media.

Elson Tong

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