Seven boys from St Stephen’s College have been arrested on suspicion of installing hidden mini-cameras in changing rooms.
The cameras, which may have been operating for more than three months at the Stanley school, have prompted calls for better sex education.
At least four cameras had been set up at the school on Tung Tau Wan Road since late last year, sources told the Post.
The devices were found in both male and female changing rooms that students use during physical education lessons.
Some cameras that could be connected to mobile phones or computers were also found in classrooms, the sources said.
Under the Crimes Ordinance, accessing a computer with criminal or dishonest intent carries a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment.
Joe Ching Kin-cho, a social worker with Evangelical Lutheran Church Social Service’s youth enhancement scheme, said sex education in schools often focused only on biological knowledge, ignoring other important areas such as respect, compassion, relevant laws and social norms.
He argued families also needed to create an open and liberal atmosphere for discussion, so that young people, if confused about sex, would not shy away from asking their parents.
“Young people are naturally curious about sex,” Ching said. “If parents and schools cannot give them answers, they will resort to online or peer information that could be misleading.”
School authorities came across a video clip from one of the cameras on the internet and notified police on March 24.
Officers from Western district crime squad apprehended a boy on the same day and six other students – mostly aged 15 – were detained three days later in connection with the incident.
A police insider said officers would most likely inspect computers at the homes of those arrested to collect evidence. He said an investigation was under way and that officers would consult the Department of Justice.
A police spokeswoman said a member of staff from a school had made a report. “After an initial investigation, police arrested seven boys aged between 15 and 16 on suspicion of accessing a computer with criminal or dishonest intent,” she said.
All the boys were released on bail pending further investigations and required to report back to police later this month.
An Education Bureau spokesman said on Monday the bureau had contacted the school over the incident and would provide it with any assistance it needed.
A college spokesman said the school had promptly notified parents of the affected students. He added that those involved in the misconduct had been suspended.
“The college has zero tolerance for such misconduct,” he said. “We deeply regret that it has taken place.”
A school letter to parents obtained by Chinese-language newspaper Apple Daily stated that hidden cameras were found in “classrooms, the big field changing room and the swimming pool changing room”.
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: boys arrested for hidden cameras