These days you gotta be strapped.
Facing a charge of possessing an imitation firearm, a 16-year-old Hong Kong student today told a court he carried an air pistol for self defense.
Lau Hong, 16, was arrested in December last year after police found him carrying a bag containing a spring-powered pistol and 1,000 plastic pellets about 50 meters from a protest near the Legislative Council building.
According to Ming Pao, he told officers he had come to the rally — which was protesting changes Legco’s rules to block filibustering — to take photos in order to document the protest on Wikipedia.
He was also found with a pair of scissors and five stickers on which were written “Hong Kong Is Not China.”
Appearing at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts today, Lau said he bought the pellet gun for HK$30 (US$4) in 2016 and carried it for protection at school and on the street.
He said he was worried he would be attacked because of his advocacy for Hong Kong localism, advocacy, he said, that had previously got him in trouble with teachers.
He explained that there had been a fight outside his campus about the issue that had seen a pro-independence student attacked. The episode, he said, had made him worry about his safety.
Denying he posed a threat to public safety, Lau said he’d only ever shot the air gun at home.
His lawyer conceded that Lau was immature but asked the judge to take into consideration that he’d bought the air gun for “safety purposes.”
In Hong Kong, possessing an imitation firearm is punishable by two years’ imprisonment.