Emergency powers, mask ban under study, says justice chief

September 12, 2019 12:49
Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng said the emergency law would only be invoked at an appropriate time. Photo: i-Cable News

Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah said officials have been studying whether it is necessary for the administration to use emergency powers to deal with the unrest stemming from the now-withdrawn extradition bill.

Speaking to media on the sidelines of the fourth Belt and Road Summit held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai on Wednesday, Cheng said the government is conducting the studybased on the current situation, adding that the emergency law would only be invoked at an appropriate time, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

There have been concerns that the government might resort to using the Emergency Regulations Ordinance, a colonial-era law dating back to 1922, to bring the months-long protests to an end.

Cheng said the government understands the potential impact on Hong Kong if the chief executive were to use the law, and as such, studying the necessity of doing so continues to be under consideration as there are many issues involved.

Regarding a suggestion for the administration to introduce a law banning protesters from wearing masks, Cheng said relevant legal research is being undertaken, adding that the government has heard a lot of views on the matter in recent months.

Some people from the pro-establishment camp have urged the ban, believing that it would discourage protesters from committing unlawful acts as they cannot hide their faces.

Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said the government will remain dauntless in facing challenges in these difficult times.

In a closed-door meeting hosted by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the largest political party in the legislature, Cheung said the administration is willing to go to the communities and communicate with people from different political parties and backgrounds, including youth groups, to better understand the younger generation and their discontentment.

The government will listen to various sectors with an open and humble attitude, he added.

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