Action call after 2 youth suicides

Local | Sophie Hui 13 Oct 2017

The government says it will look into the possibility of organizing an anti-teenage suicide summit amid two more youngsters killed themselves yesterday.

One was an 11-year-old Primary Six boy, whose body was found on the yard of Kwong Yau House at Kwong Fuk Estate, Tai Po about 8am. About three hours later, a 17-year-old secondary school student jumped off the roof of Domain Mall in Yau Tong after leaving a suicide note.

Asked to comment on student suicides at a question-and-answer session in the legislature, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said she had long been concerned about the issue and that the authorities would look into a proposal to organize an anti teenage suicide summit.

The 11-year-old had apparently jumped from a height and was certified dead atAlice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital in Tai Po.

The boy lived with his parents and an older brother on the 16th floor of the building. He studied at the Po Leung Kuk Tin Ka Ping Millennium Primary School in Tai Po and was said to be good at swimming but he was not doing well in recent competitions. His grandmother, who had lived with the family, died in April.

Officers said there were no suspicious circumstances and they believed the boy killed himself because of sadness.

At about 11am, the 17-year-old boy jumped off Domain Mall. He studied at Po Chiu Catholic Secondary School but was said to have been unhappy with his life due to academic and peer pressure.

Meanwhile, at yesterday's question- and-answer session in the Legislative Council, social-welfare sector lawmaker Bottle Shiu Ka-chun questioned Lam on the lack of concern about youngsters committing suicide. He said 72 students had committed suicide in the past two years, adding tha "72 is not a number, [they] are stories, they are lives," Shiu said.

He said Lam's policy address only focused on economic development and was all about money.

"I want to ask you, how much money is a life worth, how much money is a teenager's life worth, how much money are the 72 lives worth?" Shiu asked.

He asked Lam when will she respond to the issue seriously and hold an anti-teenage suicide summit. Lam told Shiu he didn't have to speak so emotionally, saying she had been concerned about the issue for a long time, since she was the director of the Social Welfare Department.

She said she couldn't remember if there had been such a summit, but she will ask the Labour and Welfare Bureau to follow up.

Ng Po-shing, the director of the Student Guidance Centre of Hok Yau Club, said such a summit could raise society's awareness of the issue but it may not have a practical effect on resolving the problem since the youngsters kill themselves for different reasons.

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