A video appearing to show a student slapping another on the face with his penis has circulated among the University of Hong Kong’s students on Wednesday. Anonymous online commenters attributed the incident to “hall tradition.”

The perpetrator in the video wore a hoodie bearing the words “Chemistry HKU,” though it is unclear whether the incident took place at a university dormitory. The video showed several others holding the victim down on a bed and laughing.

Footage of the alleged bullying incident. Photo: Screenshots.

The incident received a mixed reaction from students. A post on Facebook page HKU Secrets – which allows users to post anonymously – criticised the way that some students labelled it as part of hall tradition: “Halls love to brainwash people with the ideology of ‘giving it your all’ and ‘having no regrets.’”

“After you watch this again… how many of you can actually say you don’t regret it?”

Another post said these incidents occurred in other halls in the university: “If you can play along then you’ll treat it as a game, but if you can’t play along you’ll accuse people of bullying.”

Text messages

On Wednesday afternoon, the news page of university magazine Undergrad reported rumours claiming that the incident took place at Simon K.Y. Lee Hall.

Undergrad cited students at the hall as saying they received text messages Wednesday morning telling them not to accept interviews, pick up phone calls with no caller ID, or take any group photographs. It did not say who sent the messages.

University of Hong Kong. File photo: Wikimedia Commons.

After the video surfaced, lawyer Leung Wing-hang warned that the students involved might have violated the law against indecent assault, according to HK01. A key issue under the law is whether the student who was “bullied” gave consent.

More allegations

On a separate occasion, some 20 students at St. John’s College at HKU were accused of entering the dormitory room of a student and pouring wax over his penis.

The allegation was made on Facebook by a student who was running for a seat on the hall committee. The post has since been deleted.

Student news website Pokfulam Herald reported on Sunday that the incident took place last month, and the victim was a hall committee candidate. Its sources claimed that pouring wax was a “tradition” among hall students.

The author of the Facebook post added that he was bullied, attacked and threatened for running on a platform to “reform” the hall. He later withdrew from the race.

The editor of Pokfulam Herald told HKFP that he did not know anything more about the incident: “I’m not a ‘hall person’, they all cover up [what’s happening inside].”

The University of Hong Kong did not immediately respond to a request for comment on both incidents.

Update 06/04: An HKU spokesperson said a thorough investigation will be conducted: “The University condemns abusive or bullying acts, and protects all those affected by bullying including cyber bullying. The current investigation is not yet concluded, and appropriate disciplinary procedures will be invoked whenever we consider it justified.”

Elson Tong

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