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Criminal charges dismissed against youngest HK protester

Hong Kong: A Hong Kong court on Thursday dismissed criminal charges against a 12-year-old who admitted spraying protest-related graffiti at a police station and railway interchange, preserving the boys clean record.

At West Kowloon court, Magistrate Pang Leung-ting ordered the removal of the charges against the child because of his good background and the less serious nature of the offences, reports the South China Morning Post newspaper.

The ruling means the boy avoids having a criminal record.

But the child was made subject to a care or protection order that imposes a curfew and compels him to take part in social activities as directed by the Social Welfare Department (SWD) for two years.

The court will hear a progress report of the boy on June 18, 2020.

The boy pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal damage at a previous hearing on November 21, after a plain-clothes police officer spotted him vandalising the wall of Mong Kok Police Station and Prince Edward MTR station on October 3.

The defendant was the youngest to plead guilty in court among more than 980 suspects charged in protest-related proceedings since this year's outbreak of demonstrations.

Police revealed earlier this week that 6,105 people had been arrested over the anti-government protests, sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill, since the first mass demonstration was staged on June 9.

Of all those arrested, 2,430 people, or 39.8 per cent, were students.

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