CE, senior officials hold late-night meeting as unrest grows

November 14, 2019 14:13
The emergency meeting was called to discuss ways to handle the escalating unrest in Hong Kong. Photo: HKEJ

Following another day of violence and chaos, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor called an emergency meeting with her principal officials late Wednesday night to discuss ways to handle the escalating unrest in Hong Kong.

At around 10 p.m., a number of senior government officials arrived at Government House in Central for the meeting, and they did not leave until after midnight, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

There had been talk that the officials discussed in the two-hour meeting whether a curfew should be imposed to handle the situation and whether the District Council elections scheduled for Nov. 24 should be postponed or canceled.

It is understood that they had not given the final approval on canceling or postponing the DC elections.

A government source revealed that the administration has not changed its position that the elections should be held as scheduled.

In an emergency question-and-answer session in the Legislative Council on Thursday morning, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung called the late-night meeting as "just an ordinary meeting" to find ways to ease the current situation.

The meeting came following some of the worst violence seen in over five months of anti-government protests in the city.

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said a 70-year-old man working as a cleaner for one of its subcontractors is in critical condition after he was hit in the head “by hard objects hurled by masked rioters during his lunch break” in Sheung Shui on Wednesday.

Earlier, black-clad protesters had clashed with people who were removing roadblocks across the North District Town Hall.

A spokesman said the government was saddened by the incident. It was in contact with the victim's family through the service contractor and promised to provide assistance, the government said in a press release.

In Tin Shui Wai, a young man was hit by what is thought to be a canister of tear gas and was sent to Tuen Mun Hospital. As of Thursday morning, he remained in critical condition at the intensive care unit after receiving treatment.

In Kwai Chung, a black-clad man in his 20s was found lying in a pool of blood outside the Kerry Cargo Centre building at around 10:30 p.m. He was unconscious when rushed to Yan Chai Hospital, where he was certified dead before midnight.

The man's injuries appeared to have been caused by a fall from height, a source said.

Police said the case was not suspicious after an initial investigation, and the cause of death would be determined in a post-mortem examination.

In response to media inquiries about the incident, the Hospital Authority said it was listed as “fall from height” at the moment and had nothing to do with protests.

On Wednesday night, a large number of black-clad protesters blocked Castle Peak Road in Yuen Long and damaged Light Rail tracks before riot police fired tear gas to disperse them.

Multiple canisters of tear gas were also fired in Tin Shui Wai after some protesters set fire at the exits of the MTR station.

On Thursday, protesters paralyzed parts of Hong Kong for a fourth day, forcing school closures and blocking highways and other transport links.

Police fired tear gas near the Cross-Harbour Tunnel to try to clear the protesters. Roads were strewn with bricks and other debris leading to widespread traffic jams.

Thousands of students barricaded themselves inside campuses at several universities overnight, preparing stockpiles of food, bricks, petrol bombs and other make-do weapons as they hunkered down. Dozens of riot police gathered outside.

The Education Bureau announced on Thursday that all schools would be shut through this week due to safety concerns, which usually only happens during typhoons.

Several universities also announced there would be no classes on campuses for the rest of the year, while several shopping malls said they would close on Thursday. With a Reuters report

– Contact us at [email protected]