Protestors face police tear gas in Hong Kong, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. Shouting "Wearing mask is not a crime," tens of thousands of protesters braved the rain Sunday to march in central Hong Kong as a court rejected a second legal attempt to block a mask ban aimed at quashing violence during four months of pro-democracy rallies. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

2 protesters charged in 1st use of Hong Kong's new mask ban

October 06, 2019 - 11:27 pm

HONG KONG (AP) — Two protesters have been charged with violating Hong Kong's new ban that criminalized the wearing of masks at rallies.

The charges filed Monday are the first prosecution under the ban that took effect Saturday under sweeping emergency powers to quash rising violence in four months of anti-government protests. But the ban sparked more anger with rallies and violence in the last three days in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

An 18-year-old student and a 38-year-old unemployed woman were detained early Saturday shortly after the ban took effect and charged Monday with illegal assembly and for violating the mask ban. They were both released on bail pending trial.

A conviction for violating the mask ban carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and a fine.

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