Thailand has withdrawn criminal charges against a Hong Kong journalist detained last year for carrying personal body armour to report on the Bangkok blasts. The court where Anthony Kwan was due to stand trial next month confirmed that the case is no longer going ahead.

Mr Kwan was arrested at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport in August when officials found the body armour and a helmet in his luggage. It is illegal to use such items without a weapons licence in Thailand. Mr Kwan had faced a possible five-year prison sentence.

Journalists regularly use body armour and helmets when reporting from dangerous locations. His detention was criticised by his employer, Initium Media, as well as the Foreign Correspondents Club in Thailand. On Tuesday the club issued a statement saying it welcomed the decision, and reiterated that journalists “who need to work in dangerous areas… be able to use appropriate protective equipment legally in Thailand”.

Mr Kwan was allowed to leave Thailand shortly after he posted bail in August.