A 15-year-old boy who confessed to throwing two petrol bombs to vent his frustration over the handling of last year’s protests by the government and police was given 18 months’ probation on Tuesday.
Tuen Mun Court heard the Form Three pupil hurled two firebombs on Fung Cheung Road in Yuen Long during the early hours of January 8 to express discontent with the government, which he felt had snubbed protesters’ demands during the months of social unrest.
The attack left a burn mark on the road, but no one was injured.
The boy was arrested in the vicinity after a passer-by reported the incident. Police found a lighter and other items used in the preparation of petrol bombs in his possession.
Earlier this month, the teenager pleaded guilty to one count each of arson and possessing items with intent to damage property before magistrate Kelly Shui.
On Tuesday, defence lawyers said the boy felt helpless in the face of current societal circumstances, and wrongly believed he could only get the government’s attention by resorting to violent means.
They described the boy as a teenager who aspired to serve the community as a district councillor in the future, but was hindered by immaturity and lack of respect for the law.
In mitigation letters to the court, the boy was said to have taken part in community work at a young age, but “expressed his love for Hong Kong using the wrong method”.
What you can achieve by breaking the law and going to jail is nothing more than causing distress to your parent
Magistrate Kelly Shui
Passing sentence, magistrate Shui accepted the probation officer’s recommendation.
Shui told the boy: “I do believe you genuinely care about Hong Kong … However, you need to realise that your way to ‘help’ Hong Kong is unworkable. What you can achieve by breaking the law and going to jail is nothing more than causing distress to your parents.
“Before saying you love Hong Kong, love your parents first and put yourself in their shoes.”
The teenager will be required to serve the first half of the 18-month probation period at a juvenile facility. Afterwards, he must obey a 7pm to 6am curfew every day, and take part in social services and learning activities as directed by the Social Welfare Department.
At the same court on Tuesday, a 15-year-old girl admitted possessing raw materials for producing petrol bombs in Tin Shui Wai last year.
The court heard the Form Four student and other unidentified people gathered at Tin Wah Road in the early hours of September 30 to affix posters in support of the anti-government protests.
She was subdued by police officers after a chase, and found to be carrying flammable liquids including ethanol and naphtha. She told officers she had learned how to make a firebomb on the internet, and asked them for a second chance.
Magistrate Shui asked to review a probation report before determining her sentence. The girl, who was granted bail, will be sentenced on June 19.
Help us understand what you are interested in so that we can improve SCMP and provide a better experience for you. We would like to invite you to take this five-minute survey on how you engage with SCMP and the news.