Hong Kong Law & Crime Politics & Protest

Hong Kong court sends 16-year-old to rehab for carrying laser pointer, hiking pole and modified umbrella at demo

A teenage protester has been ordered to attend to a rehabilitation centre after he brought a laser pointer, a modified umbrella and a hiking pole to a protest in September.

The defendant, a 16-year-old boy, was arrested near Tuen Mun MTR station on September 21. During a body search, police officers discovered the items, along with a helmet and protective gear.

Earlier this month, magistrate So Wai-tak on Thursday found the boy guilty of one count of possessing offensive weapons in a public place, and one instance of possessing offensive weapons with intent.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

The case marks the first time that a Hong Kong court has criminalised the possession of a laser pointer in the context of offensive weapons. Since widespread pro-democracy protests began in June, demonstrators have often shone laser pointers at police officers and surveillance cameras during clashes.

For the conviction over the laser pointer, the defendant was previously charged with “possessing an instrument fit for unlawful purposes,” but the magistrate exercised his power under section 27 of the Magistrates Ordinance to amend the charges so that they related to offensive weapons.

So accepted the recommendation of a probation officer and sent the defendant to a rehabilitation centre, where teenagers serve short custodial sentences and receive work training and counselling.

tuen mun steve li modified umbrella offensive weapon

Senior Superintendent Steve Li show off a modified umbrella used by a protester. Photo: Stand News.

The defendant has already been remanded for around two months. So rejected the defence’s request for bail pending appeal.

He said the defendant can express his views but it must be done in a legal and peaceful manner, RTHK reported.

So also said that the defendant should not give up on his dream of becoming a skateboard coach and should contribute to his family.


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Hong Kong court sends 16-year-old to rehab for carrying laser pointer, hiking pole and modified umbrella at demo