The number of naked chat blackmail cases has jumped up in recent years, rising from 60 in 2012 to 477 in 2013 and involving about $1.74 million of extortion money. About one-tenth of the victims were students.
Seven Lingnan University students have produced a video for the Police Community Relations Office of Tuen Mun to help young people tackle naked chat blackmail. Using a light-hearted approach and youth slang, the video has been shown to secondary school students during a presentation. In view of the positive response, the Office is planning to show the video in other districts.
The seven are Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) students taking a “Crime and Deliquency” course. According to Noelle Chow, school liaison officer and sergeant of the Police Community Relations Office of Tuen Mun, as Lingnan students are young people, they can use words and ways their peers find easier to ‘take in’ to guide them on how to avoid risks arising from naked chat. Since 2009, her Office has co-organised close to 20 projects on crime prevention, including anti-bullying and anti-drug abuse, with the Office of Service-Learning (OSL) of Lingnan University. She found the participating students diligent, conscientious and innovative.
Year-three student Carrie Cheung chose the course and this service-learning project because she would like to do something meaningful before graduation, in addition to being attracted by the chance to make a video on how to avoid falling into the trap of naked chat blackmail. The classes of Prof Alfred Chan, Chair Professor of Social Gerontology, have provided a good theoretical foundation for the service-learning project, which has in turn consolidated her knowledge. Carrie has also taken the course "Health, Illness and Behaviour" and would produce a leaflet and short video on Aids prevention for the service partner institution.
Sergeant Chow and Carrie shared their service-learning experience with representatives of 10-plus partner institutions in Tuen Mun and Lingnan academics at a community meeting organised by the OSL on 23 April. In his welcome speech, President Leonard K Cheng said service-learning is an innovative pedagogy that combines academic study and community service. Under the guidance of teachers and mentors from partner institutions, students learn about social situations and gain work experience when they are delivering service. At the same time, they also strengthen their knowledge and bring new perspectives to the community while fulfilling their civic duties. Since the OSL’s establishment in 2006, Lingnan students and teachers have served over 26,500 people through its various projects, enhancing the exchange between the University and the community. Knowledge in books, combined with wisdom in the community, can often lead to new possibilities for service as well as solutions or directions for social problems.
At the meeting, Assistant Director Dr Carol Ma introduced the objectives and accomplishments of the OSL. She also invited organisations to send applications to make use of the Office’s recently launched promotion service on Facebook to publicise their activities.