An International School’s Football Team Sparks Class and Racial War Online

On March 11th, a video of Kitchee U12 vs ESF U12  football match was circulated online. In the video, ESF football team can be seen committing many dirty fouls. The following video is just a backup and the original is now set to private.

The nastiest foul is at 1:38, in which No. 2 of ESF  kicked in the face of his opponent. It stirred anger online immediately and was reported by Ming Pao with the title “ESF’s students kicked people instead of ball” next day.

On March 14th, the manager of Kitchee, Ken Ng, and movie director, Alfred Cheung, whose son is a team member, were reported to have received ESF’s lawyer letter demanding them to take down the video from YouTube.

Lawyer’s Letters

Alfred Cheung’s account on Apple Daily,

Actually, my son (11 years old) is also a victim. No. 2 of ESF kicked my son in the penalty area and at the end line and caused him to bleed. I had never spoken out. However, I received lawyer’s letter from ESF unexpectedly today. The letter addresses me to delete the offending video politely. However, a person was sent to my home to give me the letter. I think this is a threat, especially the video he demanded me to delete is not uploaded by me. I will write to ESF to demand apologies for my son’s injury and accusation that I was the uploader.

That kick of No.2 of ESF would have sent the Kitchee’s kid to hospital for at least six months to a year if it were half inch deeper. This is a very dangerous and nasty act. However, the coach of ESF did not stop it immediately.

The act of ESF sparks speeches against rich and Westerners.

loved: Is ESF still getting subsidy from the government? If it does, they shouldn’t be that boastful. These rich people are sponsored by taxpayers. They even produce young bullies.

Younha: Being bullied in your own place, Hongkonger is really sad. Besides locusts, even Westerners bully us together. We will be forced to tolerate this as well, f***.

沒自信的毒男: In Hong Kong, local is the lowest class. Whether locusts or Westerners, we have to tolerate them.

機會黎喇飛雲: It proves that Hong Kong Westerners run amok like (Mainland Chinese) locusts do.

goodbrush: Westerner Locust

戀仔狂: (*a screen capture from a TV drama) Being rich doesn’t mean that you can act unscrupulously.

meia: Add one more sentence. Everybody, quick, share it out. You don’t discipline your son. The school don’t discipline students. Let us housewives help you.  This is Hong Kong! You ESF is a structure that is using taxpayers’ money!

A netizen gave his commentary.

笑什麼?: ESF is in fact subsidised by the government. You see how those ethnic Chinese who couldn’t/can’t study in ESF schools think. I think that this incident not only needs to be assigned responsibility, ESF schools need to be closed down. Don’t use taxpayers’ money to sponsor these dregs. The resource of Hong Kong is being robbed and Hongkonger is being bullied by foreigners. The thinking of anti-foreigner, anti-rich and anti-powers aren’t weak. The anger is easy to flame. The act of issuing lawyer’s letters makes a trivial matter that only involves between coaches and students to become an incident that  “the government assists foreign evil powers to bully pitiful Hongkonger.”

News of ESF’s previous scandal. According to Ming Pao,

Audit Commission Criticise the Extravagance of the Top of ESF

In 2000, ESF bought luxury properties in 10 Stanley Village Road and Evergreen Gardens of Shousan Hill as accommodations of headmasters and teachers. In 2004, Audit Commission revealed that the salary of ESF’s teaching staff reached 79,000 HKD per month in 02/03, which was the highest among all the international schools in Hong Kong, in the 70-page report. ESF also rented 10 properties that were worth 6.8M as accommodations for 10 top staffs. Some higher-level staffs were given 8,000 to 20,000 per month for social expenses, which were worth 290,000 in total.

However, Alfred Cheung, who directed and wrote many movies that poked fun at Mainlanders during the 80’s and 90’s, recently condemned Hongkongers for the anti-locust ad, is now being backfired in his own Weibo.

There is no justice! Students from ESF, which are subsidised by the government, kicked and wounded our children. A parent filmed a video and uploaded it. One part is No. 2 (of ESF) kicked in the face of our child, shocking the World. My own child is also wounded. Before I complain about them wasting taxpayers’ money, I received a lawyer’s letter unexpectedly and is told to take down the film.

Hong Kong netizens’ comments

北原KiTaHaRa: You got a taste of your own medicine. Cheung the big director, before, aren’t you telling people to tolerate Mainlander? Why don’t you tolerate Westerner? Are you trying to stir hatred?

Because “double negative” issue is not his business. He has already invested in Mainland China and earned big profit, Cousin cafe (*Cheung’s investment) needs the support of Mainlander. How can he offend them? This time, his son is “also wounded”, the interest of his own and his family members is harmed. He certainly speaks out. If this Weibo were not from “Alfred Cheung”, no one would come to take verbal advantage of him.

萬少懷: When Mainlander insult and beat our medical staffs, you say tolerance. Now, this is just a small injury in a sporting event, why can’t you tolerate?

BRIAN18181818: We are discussing whether “double negative” is invading Hong Kong resource, however, you attitude is chilling and your speech is cold-hearted. Now, groups of Hong Kong mothers almost don’t have hospital beds, you don’t even have an ounce of sympathy. Are you shameless?

Oriental Daily revealed the injury of  12-year-old Titus, the Kitchee footballer who was kicked in the face.

My response to AFP’s “School football incident sparks Hong Kong race row.

  1. “Gweilo” is always used as a neutral term these days.
  2. “But some other commentators said the ESF boy may have misjudged his kick and not meant to hurt his opponent.” What’s the intention of writing this?
  3. The lawyer’s letter is barely mentioned.
  4. No info on the background of ESF.

45 thoughts on “An International School’s Football Team Sparks Class and Racial War Online

  1. Look, that big red headed kid is a jerk. He was a jerk the whole game. And the coach was a jerk. But in all honesty the westerners in HKG are pretty well behaved and about as politically correct as can be. So lets get off the, “they bully us” bit……

    Kid should be kicked out of league, coach should be fired. and fool who sent lawyers letter should say sorry.

    I hope that young kid is okay..

    1. My dad is from Hong Kong and my mother is British of Scottish descent. I’m really ashamed of these western kid losers behaved so low class, obviously because of the humiliation of losing 16-0 to Hong Kong kids. The Hong Kong kids should learn to hit them under these situations.

  2. If the referees did their job and controlled the game it may not have got out of hand. Kids are not the most skilled so some clumsy tackles are to expected. They need to be penalised though.

    The video was obviously edited to highlight ESF fouls. I guess the question is; were there Kitchee fouls which were not included?

    The last foul was horrendous. Intended or not – the player needed to be disciplined.

  3. Talk about making a big deal out of nothing. its a friggin football game where two teams starting playing competitively with a bit of chippiness. See nothing but a bunch of whiners and pussies

  4. He’s a 10 year old kid playing in a feisty game of footie. How many adults who post comments play a ‘clean’ game of football?
    Every weekend there are games of football played by all creed and color against and with each other and foul tackles happen. Don’t start making this racial, it’s not!!!!! It’s a game of football between two U12 teams that got a bit feisty, nothing more! And was the video edited just to make the ESF team look bad. Kitchee aren’t whiter than white, i’ve watched them play.
    As for Ken Ng, get over yourself. I have kids that play football, rugby, hockey and i always tell them…if you play hard you’re gonna get hurt. Suck it up or get out!

    1. Hockey and Rugby is different from Football (Soccer), in Football (Soccer), the only type of tackling is slide tackling for the ball, and if you do that wrong, you can get a card. But rarely do you ever miss a ball and kick someone’s face, because the play is over. The game has been stopped, why are you kicking the ball? In Hockey and Rugby, those sports allow physical tackles, or checks, etc. Why do you think there are paddings for Hockey and Rugby players? But for Football (Soccer), the only thing is maybe shin guards. Why? Because they don’t expect players to be kicking each other’s face in. Playing hard doesn’t mean to take it in the face and feel alright about it. How’d you like it if I kicked your face in in Football (Soccer)?

      1. Right on! I am a soccer mom who have been to every practice and game for the last 7 years, your comments are so accurate! People who play american football, hockey or rugby do not understand. Even basketball have more physical contact than soccer.
        I have seen first hand dirty plays from kids – it is bad parents/coach that lead to bad kids. I bet that no. 2 still did not think he did anything wrong. To the non-sympathizers – how would you feel if it was your son that got kicked in the face? I just feel sorry for the parents who send their kids to EFS…

      2. the body language of the kids says it all…especially number 2…accidents happen…but his body language…didn’t show that…and so…virtually no one is cutting this “punk” some slack…i wish I was a kid…then I have an excuse to kick him in the head while walking down the street XD

  5. Where is the father in all this? Have I missed something? If that was my son (I have one playing under 12’s too) and I saw him blatantly lose his temper like that, I would bench him for 2 months and make him study inside (while he remembered how much fun he was missing). This was just one young boy’s lack of self control who needs a simple slap on the wrist.

    The rest is a bunch of old men living out their “glory days (i.e. loss of)” vicariously through their children; a sad story that seems to be occurring every weekend in every country (as witnessed on Youtube).

  6. These kids are emulating what they see professional footballers doing on tv and their parents doing every day. Talk about over reacting. The parents should be ashamed of themselves, considering their children are their responsibility until they reach the age of 18. The racist comments have been very interesting. Recently, If it’ not the “mainlanders” it’s the “gweilos” that are the problem. My experience is that the “locals” spend so much time off sick, it’s the rest of us that do the real work and keep this marvelous city going. Toughen up and protest about the archaic employment and privacy laws instead of stirring up unnecessary racism.

  7. Although the foul is unpardonable…it is part and parcel of football…my son also fractured his leg while playing for ESF against another team…now he does not play for ESF Lions and plays for another team and he is only 6 yrs old…but I did not complain…at the time of his fracture, he was only 5…the foul may or may not be deliberate…though in this case it clearly seems to be…but to blame the entire ESF fraternity is absolutely blown out of proportion…I am empathise with the little boy who got hurt and his parents for what they have gone through because I totally understand as a parent who has seen his son breakdown in uncontrollable tears after fracturing his leg…but again, to blame ESF and the whole parents of ESF is totally wrong…In any case, ESF parents are also law abiding tax paying HK residents like me…The boy who did this harm must be deterred and some form of punishment is certainly called for but not in the scale of jeopardising or threatening his future…after all kids will be kids…

    1. Yes, I agree. You can’t blame the entire ESF. The kid is at fault, and maybe the coach. But mainly the kid. I think he should be removed or suspended from the team for a good time period. Him and whoever else that are committing dirty fouls should be punished. Regardless on which team they are on.

    2. “Kids will be kids”??? More like kids will be MONSTERS – if you let them. This kid should be made an example of. Just because you’re okay with putting your child in danger and don’t have the guts to stand up for what’s right doesn’t mean foul play is OK. As an ESF parent myself, I’m ashamed of the reaction of the organisation – SHAME on them and you can bet I will be expressing my displeasure in a letter to ESF.

      But I agree that making this a race issue is unnecessary – seemed more like the coach was the negligent one in clearly allowing many fouls prior, possibly creating an atmosphere of desperation in the kids for the rematch. But nevertheless, at 10 – hell at 5 – my son would have the sense not to kick someone’s head full tilt. No excuses. The kid also deserves his infamy – and I’m overall really happy that the locals have weighed in on this because the outcome will be a greater responsibility by all schools in instilling a code of fair play in their sporting (and other) events.

  8. nasty game, bad bullies, shitty coach and shameless schools (ESF), unscrupulous lawyers…. but has any one read the news from AFP? crappy too. the uploader of video is not the movie director. shame on the journalists.

    but one question: what has it got to do with race? rich and filthy ESF has kids of all colors. i feel sorry for the injured kid BUT there are many middle class parents who are sooooooo over-protective and they will do anything for their kids these days.

    1. The uploader of the original movie is actually the movie director alfred cheung. Now he’s worried because he’s basically falsely and prejudicially edited a movie and causing a race row. How does that make Hong Kong look – not like a world city, more like a third world one.

      The incident was a bad one. The boy is 10 years old. All you raging adults who want to crucify him, consider if it was your child who unluckily got caught on video by a crazy hater who posted it on the internet. Good luck !!

      1. I heard the original uploader was a parent at the football game. Not Alfred himself…

        BTW, No one is saying to crucify him (exaggeration). We just want justice, and that justice is to either:

        a.) Remove #2 from the team (permanently)
        b.) Suspend #2 for an amount of time, or from the rest of the year/season whatever..

        No one wants him dead, and plus, how is this unlucky? It’s called justice. He’s not unlucky he was caught on camera in the act of a dirty dirty foul play which was most-likely on purpose. Simply because he was caught on camera doesn’t make him unlucky. He should not have kicked the kid in the face in the first place. He’s an idiot. Being caught in the act doesn’t mean we should sympathize his act. Yes, if it was my kid, I would be embarrassed as hell, but feel bad for my kid? Maybe a little… but at the end of the day, I will punish him for what he did.

      2. Have you read the stuff that’s been written about his? The rabid rantings of the lynch mob? The racist outpourings filled with bile?

        Oh – and the original uploader was definitely Alfred Cheng. He is a Kitchee parent too,, not an innocent bystander

    2. It doesn’t. People should note that Hong Kong (currently) is a very ‘high-pressured’ place where ANYTHING, and I mean ANYTHING, as you can plainly see, can happen. And anything can spark anything. Hong Kongers’ civil unrest will be ready to blow at any event. The Chinese have already sparked several large protests. HKers feel that they are being treated badly in their own city, by their own government, and by their own race, if they can even call ‘their own’ now-a-days… I disagree that it has anything to do with race, but I’m just saying, it is probably due to Hong Kong’s current issues, and “bomb”-like state that HKers are at. Almost anything that may upset them will become big because of all the built-up pressure against being treated badly, and everything going down hill since 1997.

      An everyday example would be one who has had a grumpy morning, and is extremely pissed. He goes to work, and almost everything, small or big, whether it did usually or not, would bother him and piss him off. That is currently the state of HK and HKers.

  9. Firstly, we need to get out of this mentality of ‘westerners’. What if many of the boys involved had been born and grown up in HK? They are all HK’ers. I can’t imagine the outcry if, say, in Vancouver, there were comments about ‘Asians’ as being locusts etc in Canadian ‘homelands’.

    That said, the behaviour of the ESF players is an outright disgrace. The referees should have taken action as should the football association. failure to take action will only see such thuggery continue and create an ‘us versus them’ situation.

  10. The Law of Negligence is very clear. Why do you think ESF sent out threatening legal letters and tried to play the matter down? This is a perfect legal textbook example of how a school or an organisation such as the ESF has legally failed in its “duty of care” and has acted in a negligent manner legally. If you look at the longer clip, it is clear that player no. 2 was not supervised properly or reprimanded by his coach for a number of earlier fouls committed. This is equivalent to tacitly condoning such unacceptable violent behaviour which eventually resulted in another minor being injured. ESF/the coach and the parent of player no.2 should be sued for negligence causing bodily harm by the victim.

    The behaviour of the coach, as an adult who was respresenting ESF and was responsiblr for the team’s behaviour was particularly outrageous given his role as n educator. ESF, like player no. 2, was acting like a bully after the event.

    I am just glad the victim did not sustain a more serious head injury which could be fatal or ESF will be facing more serious charges such as menslaughter. The victim’s father, should sue on his son’s behalf for damages.

  11. At least the local HK chinese speaking netizens in the article are consistent with their hatred against the rich, mainlanders and the westerners, which is more than I can say for the ironic behaviour of many commenters on this blog, if the boy kicking was a mainland Chinese, you’ll be shouting anti-china racial abuse at him, but because the boy is white westerner, your reactions are…’oh lets not bring race into this.’ What the Beijing professor said is true, the westernised Hong Kongers (and ex-hkers)that are fluent in English are running dogs of the British.

  12. What is the problem is not racism…’s bad parenting. This arrogant child should have been reprimanded by his parents IMMEDIATELY. If I saw my child kick another child in the head, I would be the first one on the field to pull my child out of the game and expelled from the game and the team. The coach should have sent an apology out to the other child and team.

    This is what we see in Hong Kong all the time. No one takes responsibility for their actions. All these over-privileged, nanny raised, children, that don’t know anything about empathy or morals. If the parents refuse to teach their own children how to act in society, then the government should.

  13. On a positive note, it’s encouraging to hear that player no. 2 and his parents have contacted and apologised to the victim (albeit after police report was made). Lets hope he learned a lesson from his mistake. He has also set a good example for ESF and his coach – who have so far (according to the victim’s father) failed to respond or apologise. Maybe they should learn from this 10 year old, or are they still insisting they have not done anything wrong?

    What is most surprising is that according to the ESF newsletters, the English coach in question has a lot of coaching credentials, is a qualified referee and had experience in UK professional football. I think he failed in his duty to reprimand or at al least down his own team. Remember they are 10 and 11 year olds who were very upset when they lost 0-16 in the previous match and were extremely hyped up and excited in the re -match. The coach has a duty to supervise these minors – he didnt even tell his player off or tell him to apologise after the head kick, but acted aggressively towards the other parents instead!

  14. yeah right, still acting like the colonists they were. unfortunately the people of hong kong and the other places are at fault too, for allowing these former colonists to hang on to their positions. imagine you doing that in their country…………….

  15. What the kid did was utterly deplorable and if I were the principal of his school I’d at least suspend him from school. He was not even aiming for the ball if you watch the slo mo video. Shockingly vindictive. But clearly he felt he had the support of his coaches and school to dare to do this in open view. (I might add, not much better than professional soccer these days but at least there you risk a red card.)

    Good for you Hong kongers for speaking out against this atrocity by a child and his coach. People here condoning the act as “just soccer” and calling critics “whiners and pussies” – 1) would like to see how you would have reacted if it had been your kid that was the victim, and 2) you are the kind of bottomfeeders that have ruined the beautiful game of soccer and made it a boring power-aggression game rather than a game of tactic and skill. If this horrendous mutation of the game can be reversed by whiners and pussies then so be it. More power to us.

    1. It is encouraging that even ESF parents do not approve of the attitude and the handling of the ESF and the coach. A few parents, students and the coach himself have been trying to justify how “a coach is entitlled to tell his team to play rough” and that “fouls are important tactics” etc. It is deplorable that ESF and the coach have yet to apologise. Apparently the kid refused to apologise at the pitch and was immediately taken home by his parents. If the coach had acted sensibly, and insisted the kid apologised immediately rather than tell him to run away like a coward, the whole fiasco could have been solved with a few handshakes and a follow up letter. NOW ESF KNOWS THEY ARE IN THE WRONG, but refuse to accept responsibility. Are they concerned that if they apologise, it would be conceived as a acceptance of liability and possibly open themselves to a negligent suit? Is that how a major education organisation should act??

      The fact was that after the earlier 0-16 loss, the coach (apparently a different one) reported a 3-2 win instead which was published in the school news. It was only when a Kitchee member who attends an ESF School reported the matter to Kitchhee that it was corrected. Does this coach think he could have got away with it? I dont need to say anything about the blue coach who took over the team. His action, attitude, behaviour is all on the clip for all to see. Do ESF parents think he is suitable as a coach for their kids? Is he really still running the Discovery Bay Easter Sports Camp? If you read the coaches “code of conduct” listed in the ESF sports programmes under football, there are more rules broken by these coaches than not! What a great example they set!

  16. Let’s face it, if a HK kid did the same to a Western kid, there’d be no recourse. It’s neither the ESF nor the coach’s fault and there was no serious injury. The offending kid should be suspended from the footbal team for a few games. The whiners and their lawyers are the real insult to HK.

  17. better late than never.

    There’s white looking kids and Chinese looking kids on both teams…

    one team beat the other team easily. the other team has poor sportsmanship.

    the kids playing dirty, the refs who failed to control the game and the coaches negligence are to blame for what happened. it is their fault (certainly not the esf school system, though they come out looking pretty pitiful in all this)

    the response and bigotry from everyone else is the part that is truly disgusting.

    Hong Kong is a great place. ignorance and racism are the real pollution in our city.

  18. all i can say is FILTH!
    they not only look down on the chinese, indians, gurkahs they look down on all the antipodeans, so what do the failed english refer to themselves as?

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