Down and out as HKU changes locks on union

Local | Michael Shum 22 Jul 2021

The University of Hong Kong has changed the locks to a building that housed the students' union.

The security move came soon after the union moved out early yesterday to meet an ultimatum set by the university for it to vacate the premises within seven days.

At 10am, subcontracted workers arrived at the union's office with hammers and electric drills and started changing the locks in the building.

That included those of the union's office, its photocopying center and its council's meeting room.

The door plate of the union executives' office and a photocopying machine were also removed.

Also dismantled was the door of the union's cooperative store, which previously offered discounted stationery and computer accessories to students, as they had to replace both locks.

Security personnel were on guard during the operation, but none of the students' union executive or students were present.

The union will not have an office for the first time since its founding in 1912. The union first set up its office in the now-demolished Students' Union Building, now used as the university's library, and later moved to the Hsu Long Sing Amenities Centre in 1985.

In 2010, as the university planned to rebuild the amenities center, the union moved to the Union Building and has used that since.

The union is in limbo after the national security police searched its office on Friday for records of a motion that its council passed on July 7.

The council passed the motion which "thanked the sacrifice" made by 50-year-old Leung Kin-fai, who stabbed a police officer in Causeway Bay on July 1 and then killed himself. The motion drew fire from the pro-establishment camp, with Executive Council member and senior counsel Ronny Tong Ka-wah saying that union council members might be prosecuted for promoting terrorism.

Although union and council members retracted the motion, apologized and resigned a day later, the university declared that it will no longer recognize the union and ordered it to vacate the offices.

Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, chairman of the university's governing council, has said the university and the police will probe the incident independently.



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