Violence sends Hong Kong into 'very dangerous situation': HKSAR chief executive
Chief executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Carrie Lam said Tuesday that the violent acts these days have sent Hong Kong into "a very dangerous situation," vowing to stop violence with utmost determination and resolution.
Before presiding over a regular Executive Council meeting, Lam told the press that such violent acts were "lawless and bottomless" and completely disregarded law and order.
After the HKSAR government established an anti-mask law last Friday, masked rioters and vandals carried out severe and massive sabotage acts across various districts in Hong Kong, vandalizing and paralyzing the entire Mass Transit Railway system that carry 5 million trips of residents and visitors on an average day.
Thugs and villains also wrecked and looted selective stores that have presence in or links with the Chinese mainland, beat up residents who disagreed with them and illegally blocked roads and intercepted vehicles to check their identity cards.
"Such acts have created massive and great panic, spread a sense of terror and made it difficult for Hong Kong to restore calm and order," Lam said.
After almost four months of violence, the vast number of Hong Kong residents have been hurt, with the retailing, catering and tourism industries that employ about 600,000 people being the hardest hit.
Preliminary data from the HKSAR government showed the number of tourists to Hong Kong dived 30 to 40 percent in September from the same period of last year, while the number of visitors plunged more than half year-on-year during the first six days of October, previously known as the Golden Week for businesses.
As violence and rioting escalated, many shopping malls and stores in Hong Kong were forced to close early in the past four months, with the occupancy rate of hotels falling by 28 percent year on year in August.
Lam said the HKSAR government will provide cuts in taxes and rents and offer unemployment allowance to those affected industries and residents.
She also called on the business communities, property developers and the society to do their part to help those affected to tide over the tough times together.
Lam also urged foreign politicians to take an objective view of the current situation in Hong Kong and stop supporting those who are committing violence.
In response to former governor of Hong Kong Chris Patten's recent remarks on the Prohibition on Face Covering Regulation of the HKSAR, Lam said, "I hope foreign politicians, before making comments on Hong Kong, can take an objective view of what's happening here and recognize its essence."
She stressed that the essence of the recent so-called "peaceful demonstration for freedom of expression" is "unprecedented violence."
"For the past four months, especially during the recent one or two months, we were under unprecedented impact of violence," she said. "I believe if they see the real situation currently in Hong Kong, no foreign governments will agree it is essentially about freedom of expression."
She emphasized that the HKSAR government's invoking the power under the Emergency Regulations Ordinance to enact the Prohibition on Face Covering Regulation is a decision aimed at curbing violence and restoring order.
The anti-mask regulation is in line with international common practices, since similar laws and regulations have been implemented in Western countries including Germany, France and Canada, and in some states in the US, she said.
Lam called for empathy of foreign governments and politicians concerning the situation in Hong Kong. "If similar violent incidents occur in their countries, they may take stricter measures," she said.
Rejecting foreign politicians' irresponsible remarks on Hong Kong, Lam urged them to stop maliciously criticizing Hong Kong's efforts to curb violence and glamorizing those who are committing violence as "peaceful demonstrators for freedom of expression."