2 Protesters Have Been Charged Under Hong Kong’s Emergency Anti-Mask Law

By Frank Fang

In Hong Kong, two people have been charged for violating the city’s controversial anti-mask law.

The two protesters—an 18-year-old university student and a 38-year-old unemployed woman—appeared in the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts at around 9:30 a.m. local time on Oct. 7. According to Hong Kong media HK01, the student is a first-year student at the City University of Hong Kong.

Over 100 people, many wearing a mask and dressed in black, turned out at the court to show their support for the two defendants, reported local media.

Protesters shout slogans as they gather outside the Eastern District Courts in Hong Kong on Oct. 7, 2019. (Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images)

Both were arrested for violating the anti-mask law while taking part in an unlawful assembly in the early hours of Oct. 5. at Kwun Tong District in Kowloon. They were also charged with taking part in an unlawful assembly on Oct. 4.

The student was granted bail at HK$300 ($38.25), while the woman was granted bail for HK$1,000 ($127.50).

The court has postponed their case until Nov. 18.

In the meantime, the pair are not allowed to leave Hong Kong and must obey a curfew between 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. They have to report to Kwun Tong Police Station every Saturday.

When the two left the courthouse on Oct. 7, people who came out to support them chanted slogans including, “not a crime wearing a mask” and “the legislation is unreasonable.”

Protesters cover themselves with umbrellas as they gather outside the Eastern District Courts in Hong Kong on Oct. 7, 2019, where the first protesters arrested for wearing face masks appeared in court. (Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images)

The anti-mask law went into effect at midnight on Oct. 4 after Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam invoked her emergency powers to implement the mask ban in an attempt to quell protests now entering their 18th week.

The anti-mask law, formally known as the Prohibition on Face Covering Regulation, was implemented under the Emergency Regulation Ordinance without discussion or vote by Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo).

Lam said the new law will be tabled at LegCo on Oct. 16 for lawmakers to make amendments.

Under the anti-mask law, it will be illegal to wear a mask if attending a public gathering of more than 50 people, or when taking part in a demonstration with more than 30 people.

People found guilty could be sentenced to one year in prison or face a HK$25,000 ($3,188) fine.

Lawmakers from Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp have filed legal challenges to the law with the High Court, and a hearing is scheduled sometime in the second half of this month.

Public anger against the anti-mask law has led to major protests over the weekend. On Oct. 5, thousands marched from Causeway Bay to Charter Garden in Hong Kong’s Central district.

Anti-government protesters march against the anti-mask law during a protest in central Hong Kong, on Oct. 5, 2019. (Jorge Silva/Reuters)

On Oct. 6, tens of thousands filled the streets to take part in a rally at Victoria Park and two separate marches; one on Hong Kong Island that started from SOGO shopping mall in Causeway Bay to Charter Garden, and another in Kowloon.

From The Epoch Times