- Title: Hong Kong leader invokes emergency powers to try to quell escalating violence
- Date: 4th October 2019
- Summary: HONG KONG, CHINA (OCTOBER 4, 2019) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE CARRIE LAM AND OFFICIALS WALKING OUT FOR PHOTO SPRAY LAM STANDING WITH OFFICIALS FOR PHOTO SPRAY LAM AND OFFICIALS TAKING SEATS FOR NEWS CONFERENCE SIGN READING (English and Chinese): "TREASURE HONG KONG END VIOLENCE" (SOUNDBITE) (English) HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CARRIE LAM, SAYING: "Protests arising from the fugitive offenders, bill have continued for nearly four months now. Over this period, protesters' violence has been escalating, and has reached a very alarming level in the past few days, causing numerous injuries, and leaving Hong Kong to a chaotic and panicked situation. We are particularly concerned that many students are participating in these violent protests or even riots, jeopardising their safety or even their future." LAM SPEAKING / OFFICIALS SEATED (SOUNDBITE) (English) HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CARRIE LAM, SAYING: "As the current situation has clearly given rise to a state of serious public danger, the chief executive in council decided at a special meeting this morning to invoke the power under the emergency regulations ordinance, and make a new regulation in the name of prohibition on face covering prohibition, which is essentially an anti-mask law, something which has already been introduced in a number of jurisdictions around the world, and discussed here in Hong Kong." NEWS CONFERENCE IN SESSION (SOUNDBITE) (English) HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CARRIE LAM, SAYING: "I would like to emphasise that the decision to invoke the emergency regulations is a difficult but also a necessary one for public interest. Let me make four points in conclusion. One, although the ordinance carries the title 'emergency,' Hong Kong is not in a state of emergency, and we are not proclaiming that Hong Kong is entering a state of emergency. But we are indeed in an occasion of serious danger, which is a stated condition in the emergency regulations ordinance for the chief executive and council to exercise certain powers, and I would say that we are now in rather extensive and serious public danger." NEWS CONFERENCE IN SESSION (SOUNDBITE) (English) HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CARRIE LAM, SAYING: "The objective of this regulation is to end violence and restore order, and I believe that this is now the broad consensus of Hong Kong people. The third point is, this regulation targets rioters, or those who resort to violence. That's why the regulation contains defence and exceptions to cater for legitimate needs to wear a mask, and we believe that by so doing, we have struck the necessary balance." NEWS CONFERENCE IN SESSION (SOUNDBITE) (English) HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CARRIE LAM, SAYING: "The regulation is a piece of subsidiary legislation subject to negative vetting. So when legislative council resumes on the 16th of October, the regulation will be tabled in the legislative council for members' discussion. Finally, let me reiterate, that I and my principle officials will continue our dialogue with the public, for it is the best way to find solutions to some of the deep-seated social problems in Hong Kong and for Hong Kong to move forward." NEWS CONFERENCE IN SESSION
- Embargoed: 18th October 2019 08:56
- Keywords: Carrie Lam Hong Kong Chief Executive emergency powers emergency law ban face masks protests news conference
- Location: HONG KONG, CHINA
- City: HONG KONG, CHINA
- Country: Hong Kong
- Topics: Lawmaking,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001AZOK0NB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Hong Kong's embattled leader Carrie Lam on Friday (October 4) invoked colonial-era emergency powers for the first time in more than 50 years in a dramatic move intended to quell escalating violence in the Chinese-ruled city.
Lam, speaking at a news conference, said a ban on face masks would take effect on Saturday (October 5) under the emergency laws that allow authorities to "make any regulations whatsoever" in whatever they deem to be in the public interest.
Many protesters wear masks to hide their identity due to fears employers could face pressure to take action against them.
It was not clear how the government would implement the mask ban in a city where many of its 7.4 million residents wear them every day to protect against infection following the outbreak of the deadly Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003.
Four months of anti-government protests have plunged the former British colony into its biggest political crisis since its handover to Beijing in 1997 and have created a serious challenge to Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
Violence escalated on Tuesday (October 1), the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, when police fired about 1,800 volleys of tear gas, 900 rubber bullets and six live bullets - one of which hit an 18-year-old.
(Production: Aleks Solum, Joseph Campbell)
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