In a day where the media circus covered four court cases involving University of Hong Kong (HKU) staff or students, to their credit the Communications and Public Affairs Office (CPAO) at HKU did not come up with some crazy conspiracy theory unlike a certain crazy Croatian football president.
CPAO exhibited calm, cool composure in a dreadful day for HKU public relations. In order of severity, the four courts cases were:
1) Ex-Dean of Medicine, Professor Lam Shiu-kum, 65, was charged with misconduct in public office and sentenced to 25 months in prison. He was jailed for receiving HK$3.8 million in donations to his own company while knowingly using the HKU letterhead and association as a guise for donations seemingly to the university.
2) Current associate professor of education, Terence Joseph Shortall, 54, was charged with indecent assault and sentenced to 9 weeks in prison and fined HK$5,000 (US$640). He was jailed for indecently assaulting two female students on campus. The judge said Shortall had abused his position and shown no remorse for what he had done
3) A HKU undergraduate student was charged with theft, and fined HK$3,500 (US$450) for stealing knick-knacks worth up to HK$1,000 (US$130) from five shops in Sheung Shui.
4) Two HKU undergraduate students were charged with credit card theft. Both were released on HK$500 (US$64) bail and are scheduled to return to court on September 17 for sentencing.
Yes it was a coincidence that four court cases involving members of HKU converged on the same date. “The incidents actually happened at different times. It is just coincidence that we had three cases today. We are not disappointed as it is just a coincidence,” said a HKU spokeswoman.
However, what are the chances there will be conspiracy theorists and Chinese fortune tellers who, in their eagerness to find confirmation bias, will dig up other negative incidents that involve HKU? Did any fortune tellers predict that HKU would be caught up in plenty of bad luck this year?
Also, note how many C’s are used in this blog entry … must be some cynical conspiracy in that too!