The District Court on Wednesday acquitted five people accused of rioting a day after the enactment of the government's anti-mask law two years ago, although they were convicted of breaching the face covering ban.
Lam Hin-shing, Angie Lee, So Nga-yin, Henry Tse and Chan Lok-sun were arrested in Wan Chai on October 6, 2019.
Deputy judge Ko Wai-hung said going by the outfits and locations of some of the defendants, the court did not accept that they were innocent passers-by.
But he said he could not completely rule out that the defendants had only arrived at the scene during police dispersal action.
The judge rejected the prosecution's argument that people fleeing the scene with protesters must be running away because of their guilt.
Four of the defendants, however, were found guilty of violating the anti-mask law, while Lee earlier pleaded guilty to this charge.
The five were remanded in custody before sentencing on January 11 next year.
The judge made clear that he was considering a custodial sentence for So, Tse and Chan. The other two were minors at the time of the offence.