HK authorities charge 44 with rioting

People braving the rain outside the Eastern Magistrates' Court in Hong Kong to show support for those charged yesterday. Hong Kong has been hit by eight straight weeks of mass protests sparked by the now-suspended extradition Bill. A man trying to sh
A man trying to shield a woman who was among the 44 people charged with rioting at the Eastern Magistrates' Court in Hong Kong yesterday. One of them faced an additional charge of assaulting police. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

The Hong Kong authorities yesterday charged 44 anti-extradition Bill protesters with rioting on Sunday, in a swift move that signals a tougher stance by the government and police to quell the political crisis.

Separately, a 24-year-old man was yesterday charged with possessing an offensive weapon.

Of those charged yesterday, 44 were granted bail, save for one woman who was not present.

Many of the accused are students, with a 16-year-old girl the youngest among the group.

The prosecution of the group is the first since protests started in March. On Sunday, police and protesters battled in the streets of Sai Ying Pun and Sheung Wan, and police had to fire rounds of tear gas to disperse a crowd that was attacking officers with bricks and metal rods.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2019, with the headline 'HK authorities charge 44 with rioting'. Print Edition | Subscribe