Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday said she did not “rule out” the option of the Chinese government intervention to tackle the ongoing protest “if the situation becomes so bad”.
Speaking at a news conference streamed live from her office by Channel News Asia, Lam claimed that her administration had no plans to use emergency powers and added: “I still strongly feel that we should find the solutions ourselves.”
“That is also the position of the central government — that Hong Kong should tackle the problem on her own. But if the situation becomes so bad then no options can be ruled out, if we want Hong Kong to have at least another chance,” she said.
She also touched upon a recent ban on using face mask, claiming the ban was “effective” and it was “too early” to cast doubts on the colonial-era law.
While admitting that there would be “some complications and misunderstandings” while enforcing the new legislation, Lam said her government would take necessary measure “to provide for some legitimate defenses and exemptions for certain categories of people.
“When I announced the [mask ban] on Friday, I said it had at least two purposes, the first is to help the police to identify individuals and enforce the law,” Lam said.
“The second — which I think is more important — is its deterrent effect,” she added.
Hong Kong, an autonomous region under China since 1998, is witnessing protests since early June, against the Lam administration’s move to legalize extradition to mainland China.
Even as the bill was officially dumped, the protests continued unabated.
Lam had invoked a colonial-era Emergency Regulations Ordinance last week, first time in over 50 years, imposing ban on wearing face masks, in order to curb unrelenting protests in the region.
“But please allow me to reiterate that if we are so proud of Hong Kong being a city that upholds and safeguards the rule of law, one important component of the rule of law is the law-abiding population,” Lam said.
China has a garrison in Hong Kong where it stations personnel of People’s Liberation Army (PLA). And if need be, Hong Kong law says the local administration can ask Beijing to use the services of PLA members in restoring law and order in the city popular for vibrant business.
Since Saturday when face mask ban was imposed, at least 16 people have been indicted for violating the ban, daily South China Morning Post reported.
“The six men and eight women faced charges at West Kowloon Court,” the report said.
Earlier, two people identified as Ng Lung-ping, an 18-year-old male university student, and Choi Yuk-wan, a 38-year-old woman, were arrested for defying ban, but the court had granted them conditional bail.
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