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The Wanchai Law Court in Hong Kong, on 15 January 2024, dropped criminal charges against a teenage student accused of conspiring.

The student was accused, along with four other people, of conspiring to wound with intent for having made some remarks in a telegram group about killing police officers and healthcare workers in 2022, when the sanitary restrictions in Hong Kong were still in place. The student was 16 at the time of her conviction and she was an administrator of a telegram group chat, where she and other people shared critical views about the management of the pandemic, wishing death to people supporting government’s COVID-19 policies, and questioning the efficacy of vaccines. When one of the other members of the chat asked if they would kill the supporters of COVID-19 policies, the student answered that it would have been better if they had had weapons. The student pleaded not guilty before the court. The judge, while highlighting that the remarks made by the student were irresponsible, also observed that the messages contained in the chat cannot be a proof that she was in agreement with other people to devise a plan to harm police officers or healthcare workers. The judge observed that, in common law, a conspiracy must involve an agreement between two or more persons, and that in the case examined there was no proof of such agreement. The criminal charges were therefore dropped.

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