A 12-year-old boy has become the youngest person to be convicted in the ongoing Hong Kong protests. Charged with vandalizing a police station and a railway interchange in October, the defendant pleaded guilty. The name of the boy has been withheld for legal reasons.
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Crime and conviction
“A police officer in plain clothing saw the masked defendant spray the words – “damn rogue cops”, alongside an obscenity about their families – using black paint on the wall of Mong Kok Police Station, at 7.30 pm on October 3. The officer followed the boy to Prince Edward MTR station, where the minor sprayed “divine annihilation, free HK” on the wall of exit B1. The boy was traced to his residence by the officer, who waited outside until 7 am the following day, when the boy went to school in uniform,” according to the South China Morning Post.
After the police intercepted the boy and checked his room, they discovered bottles of black paint. In interviews with the police, the boy admitted that he committed the offense alone and was sorry for the same. He was accompanied by his grandmother for the interviews. At court, his lawyer stated that the boy was so remorseful that he has not played basketball, which he typically loves to do, since being arrested by the police. The lawyer asked the court to show leniency on the defendant since he is only 12 years of age.
However, the magistrate has reserved the option to impose a probation order on the boy under which he will be placed under the supervision of an officer for a period of up to three years. The order will leave the boy with a criminal record. The sentencing is due on December 19. The boy is mostly taken care of by his 75-year-old grandmother since his parents are separated. He helps her in washing dishes as well as administering medication. His parents have promised that he would be kept under strict supervision to ensure that he won’t end up committing such acts in the future.
Last month, Hong Kong Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung kin-Chung revealed that almost a third of anti-government protestors arrested during the first four months of the unrest were all under the age of 18. “750 of the 2,379 protesters arrested so far are under 18, 104 are under 16. It says this is ‘heartbreaking’ but doesn’t ask why. Youth is rising up. They know they’re fighting for their future against a dictatorial regime,” Kong Tsung-gan, author of Umbrella: A Political take from Hong Kong, tweeted on October 10th @KongTsungGan.
At the recently held local district council elections, the ruling pro-Beijing party suffered a huge defeat at the hands of the opposition. Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), the main group behind the current protests, issued a statement after the election victory of the pro-democracy camp. “Hongkongers, the protests have not ended. District elections are a small victory. Don’t forget that we are still in a humanitarian crisis and we should remember that our movement is more than just elections,” the statement said (The Epoch Times).
Over 2.94 million Hongkongers cast their votes on November 24. Of the 452 seats up for grabs, the pro-democracy leaders won 388. Current Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam refused to make a public statement regarding the protestors’ demands despite the huge defeat suffered by her party. In China, state media censored the results of the elections and only had limited coverage of the event. U.S. Senator Rick Scott congratulated the protestors and pointed out that the election victory of the pro-democracy camp is a clear signal for the Hong Kong people’s desire for autonomy and human rights.