Teenager shot by Hong Kong police admits rioting over 2019 mask-ban protest

Teenager shot by Hong Kong police admits rioting over 2019 mask ban protest

A teenage boy who was shot in the thigh by a Hong Kong police officer during a 2019 protest against a law to ban the wearing of face masks pleaded guilty to rioting on Friday.

The boy, aged 14 at the time, was among 200 protesters who gathered in Yuen Long on the evening of Oct. 4, 2019, the day before the implementation of the government’s mask ban.

One plain-clothed officer fired a live round at the teenager when chaos broke out shortly after 8.30 p.m. The boy was taken to hospital in a serious condition.

Police officials said the officer opened fire in self-defense.

Last September, the boy was charged with one count of rioting and another of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Prosecutors on Friday agreed to drop the wounding charge after the teenager’s guilty plea on the rioting charge at Fanling Magistrates’ Courts.

Magistrate Don So ordered the boy, now 15, to be remanded in custody until sentencing on April 7, pending a rehabilitation report.

The court earlier heard that about 200 people gathered at a road junction in Yuen Long on that day.

The plain-clothed officer who fired the shot arrived at the scene in an unmarked car with other colleagues shortly after 8.30 p.m. Some got out of the car and tried to disperse the protesters. The plain-clothed officer remained in the vehicle but was turned on by a group of protesters, the court heard earlier.

When the officer got out of the car, some protesters came up and grabbed his neck. The officer pulled out his gun and fired at the teenager’s leg. About the same time, a petrol bomb landed close to the officer, spewing flames, the court heard.

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