To that end, nearly a third of the 2,379 protesters arrested since June are under the age of 18. On Thursday, Hong Kong's #2 official Matthew Cheung told reporters that it was "shocking and heartbreaking" that 750 of the arrests were of minors - with 104 being under the age of 16, according to The Guardian.
Notably, an 18-year-old high school student was shot in the chest by a Hong Kong policeman during an October 1 protest, while a 14-year-old was shot in the thigh by a plainclothes police officer last Friday after protesters came out to march against a ban on face masks. The Guardian also cites an 11-year-old who was sent to the hospital with an injury during a recent protest.
Cheung appealed to parents and teachers to admonish youngsters and tell them to refrain from "illegal or violent acts" and avoid getting injured or arrested, something that would "end up destroying [their] future".
The high proportion of children arrested sparked outrage in the community.
"[The government] says this is 'heartbreaking' but doesn't ask why. Youth is rising up. They know they're fighting for their future against a dictatorial regime," said Kong Tsung-gan, an author and well-known blogger, on Twitter.