Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the government would have to take action sooner or later to end the pro-democracy protests, noting that it could not just sit and watch the campaign go on endlessly.
In an interview with the Hong Kong Economic Times on Thursday, the Hong Kong leader declined to give a timeframe for ending the Occupy movement, but stressed that a court order is not necessary to proceed with the street clearance operations.
One of the most important considerations is to use as little force as possible to avoid injuries to the protesters and police officers, Leung said.
Allowing the protests to continue indefinitely is unfair to residents and shop owners who have already suffered greatly as a result of the street occupation, he said.
Leung said most of the protesters remaining on the streets are radicals and their number is dwindling.
When asked what the government plans to do when the Occupy movement ends, Leung said the priorities include conducting the second round of public consultation on political reform, explaining to the public the Basic Law and the concepts behind Beijing’s decision on the framework for the 2017 chief executive election, and responding to the demands made by the young protesters.
Student groups have asked the government to restart talks on political reform and for Beijing to retract its decision on the electoral framework for 2017.
He said many young people don’t seem to understand both the law and the reasons behind Beijing’s decision.
On the manner of nominating and electing officials, Leung said Hong Kong cannot be put on par with other cities such as London, New York and Tokyo because the city’s chief executive is authorized by the central government in Beijing.
He declined to say if the government will launch major policies once the current political standoff is over, but noted that the speed of passing bills in the legislature has been slower than before.
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