Nov. 22 (UPI) -- A 12-year-old Hong Kong boy has become the youngest protester convicted in connection with ongoing anti-government protests after pleading guilty to vandalism charges.
The boy was sentenced Thursday to counseling and supervision for as many as three years in West Kowloon Magistrates' Court after he admitted to two counts of criminal damage for vandalizing Mong Kok Police Station and the Prince Edward train station on Oct. 3.
"He knows he made a serious mistake," defense attorney Jacqueline Lam told Magistrate Edward Wong Ching-yu. "It has been an important lesson to him, as he was detained overnight at a police station after [his] arrest."
The boy was not named because of his juvenile status.
A police officer said he saw the boy spray paint "damn rogue cops" on the Mong Kok Police Station and "divine annihilation, free HK" at the train station. He was arrested the next day while on his way to school.
Defense attorneys asked the court for leniency, saying the boy's parents are separated and he was in the custody of his grandmother.
The ongoing protests have drawn significant participation from Hong Kong youth, some who have contributed to violence and damaged property. More than 4,500 people, mostly students, have been arrested over the course of the demonstrations -- which, among other things, have called for the resignation of Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam.