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Protesters charged with wearing masks in Hong Kong

TWO protesters were charged yesterday with violating Hong Kong’s ban on wearing masks at rallies.

An 18-year-old male student and a 38-year-old woman were the first to be prosecuted after the rule came into force on Saturday. Introduced to quell violence at anti-government protests, it has led to anger, with more clashes marring the territory’s daily rallies.

The two were also charged with taking part in an unlawful assembly — punishable by up to five years in jail. Wearing a mask carries a maximum term of a year. Both were freed on bail.

‘I am wearing a mask to come here today… this is a form of silent protest,’ said student Bao Yeung, 16, who was among supporters outside court. Hong Kong’s High Court has rejected efforts to overturn the ban.

But it has agreed to hear a challenge to leader Carrie Lam’s use of colonial-era emergency powers to impose it.