In the early morning of October 4, police entered HKU Jockey Club Student Village II (“JCSV2”) for investigation claiming that they had received a report regarding criminal damage around Lindsay Ride Sports Centre. During the investigation, a student was stopped and searched outside the area of JCSV2. There were neither University representatives nor HKU security guards at the time of the investigation, and students were not even notified of the reasons for police entering into JCSV2. The incident aroused considerable fear upon students on their personal safety. An open letter was subsequently sent to Professor Xiang Zhang by Joint-Hall Students’ Associations on October 7, urging the University to explain the incident thoroughly, to give further information on the lot boundary of JCSV2, as well as to clarify the established procedures and guidelines for police entering campus. However, the response failed to respond directly to the enquiries as the existing mechanism was not clarified, the October 4 incident waswere not explained thoroughly, and failed in pledging to protect the personal safety of HKU students and staff. The University Affairs Committee express our regret towards such bureaucratic response from the University and we urge the University to respond to students’ enquiries directly.
In the early morning of July 17, police entered the campus of the University of Hong Kong unannounced. At that time, the University pointed out that there is an “established mechanism” with the police. The University will only seek police’s assistance when necessary. However, the school has never clearly stated how the established mechanism is operated. Without sufficient transparency of such mechanism, it will only become a rubber stamp. The University Affairs Committee would like to enquire the following regarding the mechanism:
1. Do the police need to obtain the consent of the University before entering the campus?
2. Should police officers notify the relevant departments before they enter into campus?
3. Do police officers need to be accompanied by HKU security guards during the process of investigation in the campus?
4. When has the relevant mechanism taken effect?
5. Where can students obtain the details of the relevant mechanism?
During the incident, a HKU student passed by the gate of JCSV2. He was then stopped and searched by police officers outside the university’s property on No. 109 Pok Fu Lam Road. In the response from Professor Xiang Zhang, he just merely explained some factual details on this matter. He did not enquire the police about the rationales behind the stop and search to release the confusion and anxiety of students. Such an act reflects that the police’s arbitrary entrance on the campus of higher institutions is acquiescent, intending to spread white terror.
The abuse of power by the police has become more and more serious in recent days. They have been illegally entering the campus of different higher institutions, provoking and intimidating students. Even worse, they entered the Hong Kong Baptist University to arrest several students, and continued detaining and searching students on the campus. It is apparent that the police are acting against university students. The University Affairs Committee condemns the Hong Kong Government for spreading white terror among higher institutions. The University must not turn a blind eye and ignore students’ fear of their personal safety. The University Affairs Committee now solemnly demands the University:
1. To disclose all details of the mechanism regarding police entering campus, such as the implementation and procedures
2. To enquire police about the reasons of the university students being stopped and searched in the incident
3. To reaffirm the University’s stance towards police enforcing law on the campus, and unreasonably searching students outside the campus area
4. To promise to ensure the safety of university students and staff as well as their properties, and reassure that the police must have sufficient legal basis and reasons of entering the campus
Professor Xiang Zhang promised on July 12 that he would never allow the police to enter the campus to arrest students without reasonable legal ground. However, in the recent response, he has again failed to respond directly to the questions and requests raised by the students. The University Affairs Committee strictly require the University to fulfill its promise, safeguarding the safety of HKU students and staff.
University Affairs Committee,
The Hong Kong University Students’ Union Council
12 October 2019