HKU gives elderly anti-scam lessons
Elderly citizens have been taught by University of Hong Kong law students to identify scammers amid rising phone scams targeting them and often depriving them of life savings.
The students from the university's law and social science programs initiated the Outreach Legal Talks Initiative program - or Outlet- to give talks to needy on their basic legal rights.
Since the program's establishment in 2017, 25 to 30 HKU students for each semester are recruited to partner with law firms and non-governmental organizations to provide free legal talks to more than 1,500 underprivileged, including elderly, ethnic minorities and subdivided-flat residents.
The group prepared legal information - written in simple Chinese and fact-checked by legal practitioners - and hold talks in collaboration with four to six social organizations each semester.
Project director Vincent Tang Yin-to, a third-year law student, said laws and legal information are usually written in a complicated manner that are incomprehensible to laymen, even though they can read Chinese and English.
He hoped more disadvantaged groups know their rights in aspects including fraud prevention, wills and probate, tenancy control and education.
The program has run for nine semesters, with a new topic on scam preventions added last semester. "We observed that many elderly victims would be easily trapped by phone scams and suffer losses. We chose some common scenarios to discuss with the elderly and provide relevant legal knowledge," Tang said.
HKU's associate professor of Law Alice Lee Suet-ching - who offered guidance to Outlet - said it was a win-win situation for students.
"They can learn law topics above the textbook, connect with barristers and express legal jargon to future potential clients in friendly terms," she said.
Outlet is recruiting around 30 senior secondary students this year, providing basic law lecturers and mentorship to them and inviting them to assist in talks.
They have received 260 applications from 94 schools and held a meeting on Saturday.
The Outlet initiative won the Law for Change Student Competition 2017.
Meanwhile, HKU is also offering the SAR's first University Grants Committee-funded degree in childhood and special education since 2019.
The first batch of students for the five-year program are now in their fourth year. During the summer holiday, they flew to Romania and Turkey as volunteer teachers.
Third-year student, Irene Liu Wing-yan, who taught English in Romania last summer for six weeks, said she incorporated teaching into interactive activities.
To achieve her goal of "learning through playing," she made a teaching aid - "Happy Fishing" - to train children's attention, memory and dynamic thinking. It is now sold to organizations and teaching staff.