School denies protest link as revamp cash pulled

A secondary school which has missed out on a multimillion-dollar redevelopment insisted on Wednesday it’s always groomed pupils to be law-abiding and non-violent.

Wa Ying College found itself at the centre of controversy after a lawmaker intimated it was linked to the 2019 protests.

The government had proposed to spend HK$470 million revamping the Ho Man Tin campus of Wa Ying College, which has been in use for 50 years.

But it pulled the funding request on Tuesday, citing a lack of support in the legislature.

When the proposal was first put to Legco in March, it got a cool reception. One lawmaker, Priscilla Leung, said in the debate that some schools had been involved in social incidents and riots – although she didn’t name names.

During the protests, the school’s governing body, the Hong Kong Methodist Church, had opened its church in Wan Chai for protesters to take a rest amid the clashes.

In June 2019, Wa Ying’s principal, Wun Chi-wa, called on the government to withdraw the extradition bill that sparked months of social unrest, saying the controversy was harming society.

In a statement, the school said the social unrest brought it a certain degree of shock, but it always worked to create a calm and peaceful atmosphere for pupils.

It said it will continue to offer quality teaching to groom pupils with a responsibility to the country and Hong Kong, under the Education Bureau’s guidelines.

The Professional Teachers Union said it’s regrettable the funding request is being withdrawn, saying the government should improve the campus as soon as possible.

“We condemn the pro-government lawmakers for overriding education with politics, and neglect the needs of students,” it said in a statement.