Parents of ex-Mount Kelly students call for probe

Around 40 parents have called on the government to investigate Mount Kelly School Hong Kong, saying their attempts to get back tens of millions of dollars they paid for debentures have hit a brick wall.

The private school, which opened in 2017, suspended classes in June, citing financial troubles it blamed on the pandemic and an exodus of students. The school reopened in August.

One company linked to the school which issued debentures – Mount Kelly Foundation Limited – has been wound up by the court, and another – Mount Kelly International Limited – is in liquidation.

Unhappy parents of former students at the school joined a press conference on Friday held by the Path of Democracy, which has been offering assistance to them.

A father, surnamed Ng, said he had bought debentures worth a total of HK$3.84 million for his two daughters and had repeatedly asked the school to pay him back since last year.

Ng said the school had initially promised to reimburse him in six instalments. But he said that after an initial HK$640,000 in January, he has received nothing more and has been unable to get in contact with the school.

A woman surnamed Cheung, who paid more than HK$3 million for debentures, said she withdrew her son from the school in July.

Cheung said she had tried to seek help from the Education Bureau and had called the police, but had heard nothing promising so far.

“We feel helpless, angry, because we cannot believe that in Hong Kong there is such a poor regulation of schools. We just found out that from this case. It’s a really, really bad experience. Not only because we lose the money, but also when we’re finding help from the authorities they cannot give us a positive reply,” she said.

Barrister Angel Mak from the Path of Democracy said the new company which owns the school should settle the debts of its predecessors on moral grounds.

“Under the Hong Kong law, when the company is in the process of winding up, you cannot sue them from the court. So you have to wait, as a creditor, you have to wait for the liquidator to take over the whole affair, and then it will be up to the liquidator to find out how much money they have left. Apparently they have none. So therefore it’s quite unlikely that under the Hong Kong law that they can get back anything,” Mak said.

RTHK has asked Mount Kelly for a response to the claims made against it.