A 12-year-old boy was among 54 people arrested during Sunday night’s clashes in Tsuen Wan. During the confrontation, the police deployed new anti-riot vehicles equipped with water cannons for the first time and one officer fired his gun in an attempt to disperse the crowd.

The boy, who was newly enrolled at Lingnan Hang Yee Memorial Secondary School in Siu Sai Wan, was the youngest protester arrested so far during anti-government rallies that began in June, the city’s public broadcaster, RTHK, reported and the school’s website confirmed.

The school dismissed online rumors that it had punished him with a demerit, stating that it had been in touch with his parents and that the school’s social worker had offered assistance.

The school said new students had been informed about the incident and would be offered counseling.

The school’s vice-principal, who is surnamed Kwan, told the Apple Daily that the police did not arrest the boy formally due to his age.

Underage suspects are separated from adults and detained in small group homes that were originally designed for children from 4 to under 18 years of age whose parents failed to provide care.

Police said in a media briefing on August 26 that the boy had claimed he felt unwell due to his medical condition and had been admitted to a hospital.

The vice-principal said he hoped the police could release the boy by Wednesday – the official day for announcing placement results, during which all form 1 students will meet their class teachers and classmates in preparation for the upcoming academic year.

As of Wednesday morning, no report had mentioned that he had been released.