Acting vice-principal at Hong Kong school suspended for sharing poem that wished death on police and their families

Acting vice-principal at Hong Kong school suspended for sharing poem that wished death on police and their families

Deputy head at Confucius Hall Secondary School in Causeway Bay put poem on Facebook, but reportedly didn't know it was aimed at police force

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Riot police stand guard in Central during an anti-government protest.
Photo: SCMP / Xiaomei Chen

Confucius Hall Secondary School in Causeway Bay said an investigation task force had been set up to look into teacher Ho Pak-yan, who shared an acrostic poem on social media targeting police following an officer’s infection with the coronavirus.

The first word of each of the Cantonese poem’s 11 lines spelled out “black cops, hope your whole family dies and not one member less”. In an acrostic poem, the first charater of each line, when read up to down, spell out a message.

Part of the poem, which was widely shared across social media over the weekend, reads, “blackhearted is not such a good thing, cops are just doing their jobs”, and “whole community should come together and fight the epidemic as the most effective thing to do, family’s support is also very important”.

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But school head Yeung Wing-hon told SCMP the teacher had mistakenly shared the poem on Saturday without realising the acrostic elements in it, and had immediately deleted the post once he had been notified of the problem.

Last Thursday, a riot police officer contracted Covid-19 for the first time and more than 50 others who attended a recent banquet with him were placed under quarantine.

“I have met Ho and he said he had posted [the poem] on Saturday night. By [Sunday] noon, someone told him that there were problems with the poem and he had immediately deleted it,” Yeung said. “But it had already gone out.

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“Ho said he had no idea at all [it was an acrostic poem].”

In a written statement on Monday, the school’s incorporated management committee said Ho had been suspended pending investigation, adding that Ho’s remarks were solely personal and he had not sought the school’s approval before sharing the poem.

The school had always believed politics should not be brought into school premises, the statement added.

Confucius Hall Secondary School, where a teacher was suspending after posting an anti-police poem on Facebook.
Photo: Handout

Yeung said the teacher had only posted the poem on his personal Facebook and it was supposed to just be seen by his friends, adding the suspension was a matter of procedure.

“If a person is under investigation, he or she would be suspended during the period and it usually takes one to two weeks,” he said.

Ho’s post was later being shared across other social media websites, with various users calling for others to lodge complaints to his school and the Education Bureau. 

The Professional Teachers’ Union (PTU), and the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, both urged the school to investigate the teacher’s case in a fair and just manner. The PTU also said it could help the teacher, depending on his needs.

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