Some students at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) have been barred from entering the campus after they attended a student council meeting last month which passed a sympathy motion for a man who killed himself after stabbing a police officer on the city’s Handover anniversary.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the HKU Council – its ruling body – said they had to impose an “immediate risk containment measure” in light of the potentially illegal act of the student union council on July 7, when they passed a now-revoked resolution to “express deep sadness” over the death of Leung Kin-fai. The students apologised, but Chief Executive Carrie Lam – the university’s chancellor – urged further action.
The 50-year-old man stabbed himself to death in Causeway Bay on July 1 after he knifed a police officer outside SOGO mall. The authorities condemned the attack as a “lone-wolf terrorist act,” while those who paid tribute to Leung were said to be “glorifying violence.”
The university’s governing body, chaired by Executive Councillor Arthur Li, said on Wednesday that the passage of the motion is currently under police investigation. It ordered all students who attended the July 7 meeting to be denied access to the campus in Pok Fu Lam, as well as being prohibited from using the facilities and services at the university until further notice.
“[T]he continued presence of the group of HKUSU concerned on campus would pose serious legal and reputational risks to the University and have negative impact on its other members,” the HKU Council said in reference to the Hong Kong University Student Union (HKUSU) students.
On July 9, the HKU student union leadership stepped down, apologised and withdrew the “seriously inappropriate” motion, after they faced strong criticism from the government. The university management also condemned the student body’s decision to “whitewash violence and violent attacks.”
Officers from the police national security unit had searched the student union’s offices on July 16 and were seen carrying boxes of evidence away. They also raided the headquarters of the university student media outlet CampusTV.
Wednesday’s announcement marked the latest measure by the university authorities to cut ties with those linked to the union. The group was evicted from its premises after the university said they would no longer recognise the role of the union as an independent registered association on campus. Pro-democracy displays put up by the union were also torn down by university staff.