The University of Hong Kong's (HKU) St. John's college has expelled three students and suspended 19 from its hall of residence and warned another for an incident of "ragging", where seniors initiate juniors with activities that can be considered harassment.
The group of about 20 poured wax over the lower body of another student on March 21, according to a now-deleted Facebook post, the South China Morning Post reported on Saturday (April 8).
The victim had been a candidate in a hall council election.
In a second incident at a yet-unidentified college, a man wearing a HKU jacket was seen hitting another man's head with his genitalia, in a video that went viral in early April.
The Dean of St. John's College, Dr K.C. Wong, said in his statement issued on Friday (April 7) that "such actions, whether done under the pretext of 'sub-culture' or 'tradition', were unacceptable".
"Disciplinary actions have been taken towards all students involved," he said in a letter published on Facebook on Saturday (April 8) by the college.
"Our tutor team will also provide counselling and support to those in need."
Dr Wong added that ragging "has no place in St. John's", and issued a warning to anyone considering ragging in future: "For students or alumni who are still pondering whether some form of ragging may be justified as a form of socialisation into the so-called 'sub culture' or 'tradition', (the) College's unequivocal position towards this incident, together with the consequences that the College as a whole has to bear as a result of this incident, should remove any doubt."
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The college's students' association on Saturday also issued a statement on the incident, saying that the students agree "that the ragging was an unbecoming conduct that must be reprimanded".
Ragging has been an issue in universities around the world. In January this year, the National University of Singapore implemented a new framework barring activities with "negative features" from its freshman orientation camps.
The public had spoken out against sexualised orientation camp activities last July after the media reported about camp activities that included students being forced to simulate a rape scene between siblings.
This article was first published on April 8, 2017.
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