First charges against Hong Kong anti-government protester

6 July, 2019 12:00 AM printer

First charges against Hong Kong anti-government protester

Demonstrators attend a rally organised by Hong Kong mothers in support of extradition law protesters, in Hong Kong on Friday. —AFP PHOTO

HONG KONG: A Hong Kong street artist was charged on Friday with assaulting a police officer and criminal damage, the first prosecution against an anti-government protester since the city was rocked by unprecedented demonstrations, reports AFP.

Sparked by a law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, the city has witnessed three huge peaceful rallies as well as civil disobedience and violence from a hard core of younger protesters who have besieged the police headquarters and on Monday stormed the city’s parliament.

Authorities have vowed to hunt those behind the unrest that has plunged the semi-autonomous city’s Beijing-backed government into crisis.

Pun Ho-chiu, 31, appeared in court on Friday over his alleged involvement in the blockade of the city’s police headquarters on 21 June. He was also charged with disorderly behaviour for throwing eggs at police outside the headquarters during the six-hour siege.

A well-known activist nicknamed “Painter” for his street art, Pun was remanded in custody and faces up to ten years in jail if convicted.

He was one of the only protesters during the police siege to show himself unmasked.

In court his lawyer said he was assaulted by police who spoke to him in Mandarin—the predominant language on the Chinese mainland.