First Charges Filed in Hong Kong’s New Mask Ban

A protestor walks past a vandalized Starbucks outlet in Hong Kong, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

HONG KONG (AP) — Two protesters have been charged with violating Hong Kong’s new ban that criminalized the wearing of masks at rallies.


The charges filed Monday are the first prosecution under the ban that took effect Saturday under sweeping emergency powers to quash rising violence in four months of anti-government protests. But the ban sparked more anger with rallies and violence in the last three days in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

An 18-year-old student and a 38-year-old unemployed woman were detained early Saturday shortly after the ban took effect and charged Monday with illegal assembly and for violating the mask ban. They were both released on bail pending trial.

A conviction for violating the mask ban carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and a fine.