The principal of a Hong Kong secondary school has asked the police to intervene after finding out someone made him a signatory to a student-backed petition opposing the government’s extradition bill.
The head of Po Leung Kuk Laws Foundation College, Daniel Chan, said during a morning assembly on Wednesday that the petition linked to the school constituted a “false instrument” because some of its signatures were falsified. The school also summoned students who signed the document to a meeting, though it was unclear what was said.
The incident was first revealed by the pro-independence group Student Localism, which said it was given the information by the school’s students.
Hundreds of petitions have sprung up since Monday to oppose the government’s extradition bill, which would potentially allow the transfer of fugitives from Hong Kong to mainland China. As of Thursday evening, there were around 300 petitions linked to secondary schools, many of which were started by alumni or current students.
One of the original signatories of the Laws Foundation College petition, surnamed Yeung, told Stand News that the principal urged students during the morning assembly not to put their names on the petition. The school then met with students who signed the petition on the same day.
The principal, Chan, said he heard that “some individuals” had been impersonated, but Stand News cited sources saying that the person who had been impersonated was Chan himself.
Police confirmed to HKFP that they received a report from the school on Wednesday, which was subsequently filed under “miscellaneous incidents.”
The petition had around 120 signatures by Thursday afternoon but did not include the principal’s name. It also had a disclaimer saying: “We have tried our best to simplify the process of signing on to the petition, we hope that everyone can follow the rules and not impersonate or sign on behalf of someone else.”
Separately, Apple Daily reported that Secretary of Education Kevin Yeung called at least three secondary school principals to ask about the situation at their schools, and whether the principals knew of people who started petitions.
Yeung’s office replied that the education minister was not putting pressure on the principals, and that the Education Bureau was following up on concerns expressed over the extradition bill. Communicating with stakeholders is part of the daily tasks of the education minister, it added.
Yeung said on Wednesday that schools should focus on education, not politics. “If students have questions about social issues, I hope teachers can explain it objectively, without adding personal ideas or political opinions,” he said.
The Hong Kong Free Press #PressForFreedom 2019 Funding Drive seeks to raise HK$1.2m to support our non-profit newsroom and dedicated team of multi-media, multi-lingual reporters. HKFP is backed by readers, run by journalists and is immune to political and commercial pressure. This year’s critical fundraiser will provide us with the essential funds to continue our work into next year.