The University of Hong Kong (HKU) has said it has stopped recognising its student union as a registered student body and will “seriously investigate” students involved in a declaration commemorating a man who killed himself after stabbing a police officer on July 1.

Its statement on Tuesday came hours after the city’s leader Carrie Lam called on the school to continue to take action against the student body over a retracted statement mourning the attacker’s “sacrifice.” Student leaders apologised and resigned last week.

Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

The university’s student union leaders had retracted and apologised for the statement before stepping down last week, after the Security Bureau said it was akin to supporting terrorism.

The university repeated its condemnation of the student body, accusing it of tarnishing the reputation of the school community.

“The University of Hong Kong once again strongly condemns the serious misconduct of the Hong Kong University Student Council for blatantly whitewashing violence, challenging the moral bottom line of our society, and damaging the reputation and interests of the entire HKU community,” Tuesday’s statement read.

The university vowed to “seriously investigate” the incident to “take further action” against students involved in the matter.

Photo: StandNews.

“The University hereby urges students to uphold rationality and proper values, focus on their studies and make contributions to the society,” the statement read.

The school said it will set up a dedicated team to manage student affairs and ensure normal student activities are not affected.

The university had already severed official ties with the union in April and taken over its premises on Sunday, removing all pro-democracy posters and displays.

‘Pursue matter vigorously’

The announcement came within hours of calls from the city’s leader for an investigation into the student body over last Friday’s retracted statement.

“Even though they apologised and retracted this statement, as the university, they should continue to take action,” Lam, who also serves as the university’s chancellor, said.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam. File photo: GovHK.

Lam said she was “furious” over the incident, describing it as “hair-raising.”

“As for the student council… which committed this behaviour, it’s shameful for the university,” she said.

She added that law enforcement may also investigate the matter: “If the police see there’s room for pursuit, I would agree that this should be pursued by the law enforcement agency.”

“Whether it is the law enforcement or university, I will not interfere,” she continued. “I will leave it up to them to pursue the matter vigorously.”

Rhoda Kwan

Rhoda Kwan is HKFP's Assistant Editor. She has previously written for TimeOut Hong Kong and worked at Meanjin, a literary journal. She holds a double bachelor’s degree in Law and Literature from the University of Hong Kong.