HONG KONG — A Hong Kong court ruling Thursday that a laser pointer carried by a teenager was an offensive weapon marked a tougher stance by the judiciary after months of antigovernment protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory, with a lawmaker warning it could lead to more prosecutions of demonstrators.
Local broadcaster RTHK said a court found a 16-year-old male student guilty of possessing the laser pointer and a modified umbrella — deemed to be offensive weapons. The items were found in his bag, along with a helmet and other protective gear used by protesters.
It said the court ruled the youth had intended to use the laser pointer to cause harm to police by shining it in their eyes. He is to remain in custody until sentencing on Nov. 25.
While there has been controversy over the use of laser pointers, legislator James To said the court’s ruling was the first to designate the tool as a weapon since protests broke out in June. It reflected a harder position by courts, who have been accused by pro-Beijing supporters of being too lenient with protesters.