Date
22 September 2017
Hong Kong police faced heavy criticism last month for arresting a 14-year-old girl for scribbling graffiti on a wall at the Occupy protest site in Admiralty. Photos: Sina.com, Facebook
Hong Kong police faced heavy criticism last month for arresting a 14-year-old girl for scribbling graffiti on a wall at the Occupy protest site in Admiralty. Photos: Sina.com, Facebook

Court nixes bid to put ‘Chalk Girl’ in children’s home

A juvenile court ruled on Monday that a 14-year-old girl who was arrested last month for drawing chalk flowers on a wall at a pro-democracy protest site in Admiralty doesn’t require a child protection order any longer, removing the threat of the teenager being sent to a children’s home.

Magistrate Winnie Lau of the Juvenile Court at the Tuen Mun Magistracy said she understood why the police sought the child protection order, but decided against making such a ruling.

A social worker’s report on the matter led to conclude that the “chalk girl” does not need to be taken into protective care, the magistrate said, according to Apple Daily.

The hearing was conducted behind closed doors and media personnel were only allowed in to listen to Lau’s ruling at the end.

The girl’s barrister, Democratic Party founding chairman Martin Lee, did not comment much after the legal proceedings. When asked if the girl would be happy with the ruling, which will allow her to stay with her family, Lee merely said that she should be able to enjoy “today’s nice weather”.

Lee said he was helping the girl on a voluntary basis. The court case relating to the girl’s protection order has now ended, but not other proceedings related to criminal damage claims, he said, adding that he has no idea about the progress of that case.

The police sought a protection order for the girl on December 29 last year, after detaining her six days earlier for scribbling graffiti with chalk on the “Lennon Wall” at the Occupy protest site in Admiralty district.

The court initially ruled that girl could be sent to a children’s home for three weeks under supervision, as her parents were deemed incapable of looking after her.

Lee applied for bail for the girl on New Year’s Eve and the request was granted by the court, with the condition that the girl stays at her father’s home and observes a curfew.

The girl had told reporters that she will not bow to injustice.

The teenager’s arrest last month sparked widespread criticism and triggered a spate of copycat chalk-drawing protests in the city.

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EL/AC/RC

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