HK protests called after girl sent to children's home
To gather outside police headquarters on New Year's; 14-year-old girl arrested for drawing pro-democracy graffiti with chalk

Protesters have been called to gather outside the Hong Kong police headquarters during the New Year holiday after a 14-year-old was placed into a children's home following her arrest for drawing pro-democracy graffiti with chalk.

The minor will spend three weeks at the home while a court considers a police application for a care and protection order that alleges she is being neglected by her family, local media reported Wednesday.

Police detained the girl Dec. 23 after she drew a flower on the "Lennon Wall," situated near the stairs of a government building close to the main site of recent protests.

During the two and a half months of protests, which ended earlier in December, the wall was covered with thousands of brightly colored post-it notes with pro-democracy messages.

Despite authorities clearing the wall and protests camps, notes continued to appear on the wall, prompting the deployment of police to guard the area.

Analysts see the girl’s placement in a children’s home as an attempt by authorities to intimidate parents out of letting their children participate in pro-democracy demonstrations.

According to the minor’s solicitor, Patricia Ho, the girl was detained for 17 hours and there was no evidence the minor was not well cared for at home.

In a similar case, police have also applied for a care and protection order for a 14-year-old boy who was arrested during the clearance of the Mong Kok protest camp in late November.

While protesters called for a gathering in response to what they see as escalation by the government, police announced that thousands of officers would be deployed for "maintaining public order and safeguarding public safety” during the New Year’s celebrations.

A statement released Wednesday referred to how protesters had gathered around Mong Kok during the Christmas holiday and following weekend, blocking the roads and "causing chaos.” It said 49 persons, ranging from 13 to 76 in age, had been arrested on charges of "criminal damage," "disorderly conduct in a public place," "assaulting a police officer" and "obstructing a police officer in execution of duty."

Warning that officers would take "resolute enforcement action to stop the unlawful behavior,” the statement added: "Police also urge members of the public, in particular underage youngsters, not to take part in such activities or be incited to commit illegal acts.”

It also referred to recent media reports of people alleging mistreatment by police officers during earlier protests, calling on those concerned to provide information to the Complaints Against Police Office.

More than 955 people were taken into custody since the beginning of the protests, which involved more than 100,000 people at their peak.

Demonstrators had been calling for a fully democratic election with open nominations for the territory's next chief executive in 2017. At the end of August, the Chinese government said it will allow "one man, one vote" suffrage but that candidates will have to be approved by a body loyal to Beijing.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under the "one country, two systems” formula, which promised a high degree of autonomy from Beijing, including universal suffrage.

Last Modified: 2014-12-31 10:07:43
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