General Safety

Hong Kong enjoys a low crime rate compared to other major cities and is generally considered to be a very safe place. Nevertheless, you should remain vigilant, exercise caution, and follow common sense in looking after yourself and your personal belongings.

Lab Safety

Many accidents that occur here are preventable. Remember to observe safety rules and exercise care under all circumstances. All students taking courses that require the use of laboratory facilities and machinery must abide by strict laboratory safety guidelines.

The Health, Safety and Environment Office (HSEO) operates a safety training module catered to individual departments. You will learn more about your safety training requirements through your departments.

Health, Safety and Environment Office (HSEO)
All informational aspects on personal and environmental safety are disseminated through the HSEO. To find out more about the safety and environmental policies and procedures at HKUST, please consult the HSEO website.

Emergencies

When you travel, please take the Emergency Contact Card with you. This is available from the HKUST GSPO office. In case of an emergency, call the 24-hour emergency hotline:

On Campus:

Security Control Center on Campus
Ext. 8999 or Direct Line: 2358 8999

Off Campus:

Police / Fire / Ambulance: 999

When calling for help, always provide the following information:

  • Location of the accident/incident
  • The nature or severity of the accident (e.g. number of injured persons, seriousness of injuries, extent of property damage, gas leakages, etc.)
  • Your name and current location
Sexual Assault / Harassment

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault refers to unwanted assault of a sexual nature on another person, including kissing, touching, molestation, and rape. Sexual assaults, whether on or off campus, is a criminal offence, and you should report the offence to the police immediately.

There are some tips to reduce the risk of sexual assault, including the following:

  • Communicating clearly your limits concerning any aspects of sexual behavior, including touching, kissing and sexual intercourse. You should reject any sexual behavior or advances that you are not comfortable with.
  • When traveling outside of Hong Kong, consider going with someone you trust.
  • Avoid excessive intake of alcohol and/or drugs, or substances that may impair judgment. Watch your drinks at all times; drugging can be a problem anywhere.
What is Sexual Harassment?

Unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

  • Any aspect of your educational experience is made conditional on submission to such conduct, either explicitly or implicitly, or
  • Educational decisions affecting you are based on rejection of such conduct, or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of:
    • Unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or educational experience, or
    • Creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment.

Sexual harassment is prohibited under the University policy. University faculty, staff or students are liable to disciplinary actions if found guilty of sexual harassment.

What can you do about Sexual Harassment?
  • Maintain a record of the events, behavior, witnesses as well as your reactions and feelings about any incidents that occurred. Many people confronted with unwanted sexual behavior experience a range of feelings from self-doubt and self-blame to depression and anger.

  • Report the behavior and seek an advocate such as your supervisor, a student counselor or Residence Master, or any other supervisory personnel with whom you feel comfortable with and may provide advice, support to you, and act as an informal mediator between you and the offender.

  • Report the behavior to the Gender Equity Office (GEO), and follow the University complaint resolution procedure from then on.
What is the University Complaint Procedure?
  • Attempts to resolve problems or conflicts should be sought informally. However, if these informal means fail to resolve a situation, or if you feel that only a formal complaint can provide relief, you may do so under the University Complaint Procedure.

  • File a formal complaint with the GEO. The GEO will investigate the complaint, establish merits and initiate the mediation process by recommending a settlement with the intent to provide a remedy for the complaint.

  • If either party is not satisfied with the results from the following steps, the GEO will initiate a formal hearing into the complaint.

For further information on the University's policy on Sexual Harassment, please refer to our Gender
Equity Office website
Weather Warnings

When the Thunderstorm Warning, Typhoon Signal No.8, and/or Black Rainstorm Warning is hoisted, you should take necessary precautions as follows:

  • Stay indoors wherever you are and do not leave the building until the signal is lowered and the condition is safe to do so.
  • Stay away from large windows, structures and objects that are vulnerable to strong wind.
  • Do not swim or engage in other water sport activities. Leave water and seek shelter.
  • Avoid using plugged-in electrical appliances.
  • Do not touch aerials, water pipes, wire fence and similar metal installations.
  • Do not handle inflammable materials in open containers.
  • Do not stand on hilltops or near any highly conductive object. Keep away from trees or masts that are likely to be struck by lightning.

Due to the lightning current conducted through the ground, you should not lie down especially when the ground is wet. Instead you should crouch down to minimize the area in contact between you and the ground.

  • Drivers using highways and flyovers should be alerted to strong gusts.
  • Small boats on the open sea should watch out for the approach of swells or waterspouts.
  • You should listen to radio and TV broadcasts for weather updates.

About three to four hundred landslides are reported each year, mostly in the rainy summer season. Occasionally, severe landslides can cause casualties, damage properties and block roads.

Landslide warnings will be issued (by the Hong Kong Observatory in consultation with the Geotechnical Engineering Office) based on the latest weather information.

When the landslide warning is issued, local radio and television stations are notified and are requested to broadcast the warning to the public at regular intervals, together with advice on precautions that should be taken. You can also obtain the latest weather warning at the Hong Kong Observatory's website.

When the Landslide Warning is in force, you should cancel non-essential appointments; stay at home or in a safe shelter. Avoid walking or standing close to steep slopes and retaining walls.

If you receive a notice to evacuate because of landslide danger, or if you believe that your home is endangered by an unstable slope or retaining wall, or overhanging boulders, you should make immediate arrangements to move to a safe shelter.

Once the Landslide Warning is issued, temporary shelters will be provided by the Home Affairs Department (HAD). If necessary, you may call the HAD Emergency Hotline at 2835 1473 to locate the temporary shelter nearest to you.

During times of severe weather, classes and exams may be affected. For details, refer to the section on Academic Life.

Hong Kong Observatory Warnings: Definitions and Meanings
Observatory warnings are issued by the Hong Kong Observatory to the public through television, radio, and the Internet during adverse weather conditions.

Standby Signal No. 1
Strong Wind Signal No. 3
No. 8 Northwest Gale or Storm Signal
No. 8 Southwest Gale or Storm Signal
No. 8 Northeast Gale or Storm Signal
No. 8 Southeast Gale or Storm Signal
Increasing Gale or Storm Signal No. 9
Hurricane Signal No. 10
Amber Rainstorm Warning Signal
Red Rainstorm Warning Signal
Black Rainstorm Warning Signal
Strong Monsoon Signal
Thunderstorm Warning
Landslip Warning
Special Announcement on Flooding in the Northern New Territories
Frost Warning
Yellow Fire Danger Warning
Red Fire Danger Warning
Cold Weather Warning
Very Hot Weather Warning
Tsunami Warning
Terrorism

The overall risk of a terrorist attack is considered low in Hong Kong. It may involve intentional spreading of infectious agents, such as anthrax bacteria or small pox virus, toxic chemicals like sarin gas, or radioactive substances, called bioterrorism.

The following guidelines should be followed in case of finding such suspected or confirmed terrorist attack:

  • If you receive a suspicious parcel or letter, do not open it. On campus, dial Ext. 8999 to reach the Security Control Center or on the Direct Line: 2358 8999. Contact the nearby duty security guard if no telephone is available. If you are outside the campus, call the Police on 999.

  • If you find something suspicious after opening the parcel or letter, do not panic. Put the parcel down and cover the item with minimal disturbance. Thoroughly wash your hands or body parts that might have been exposed with warm water and soap, and remove potentially contaminated clothing if necessary. Then call the Security Control Center on ext. 8999 or on the Direct line 2358 8999. If you are outside the campus, call the police on 999.

  • If you learn about a suspected or confirmed attack in the same building you are in, evacuate in an orderly manner and follow the instructions of Security or law enforcement personnel.

  • If there is a suspected or confirmed attack in the vicinity, stay indoors and pay attention to public announcements through TV or radio.