This paper reports on a study which investigated a group of Hong Kong English as a Second Language secondary students’ awareness of the existence of a localised Hong Kong accent and their reactions to this local accent and Received Pronunciation (RP). It was hypothesised that the subjects would demonstrate greater empathy with the local accent, out of a desire to maintain group solidarity and identity. The results of the study, however, indicate the opposite. An overwhelmingly high majority of the subjects showed preference for the RP accent. Social and pedogogical implications of the findings are discussed. Copyright © 1998 Mouton de Gruyter.