Sun, Sep 22, 2019 - Page 1 News List

HK leader’s adviser says talks should ease protests

Bloomberg and AFP, HONG KONG

A person walks in front of graffiti in Hong Kong’s Tuen Mun yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

The unrest in Hong Kong should start letting up after three months of protests as Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) makes a concerted effort to address the concerns raised by the demonstrators, her top adviser said on Friday.

The city’s leader plans to hold a dialogue with Hong Kong citizens and would also address the underlying issues raised by the protesters — from the lack of affordable housing to rising income disparity — during an annual policy speech next month, Hong Kong Executive Council Convener Bernard Chan (陳智思) said in Los Angeles on the sidelines of an investment conference.

“That may help dissipate protesters,” Chan said “There will always be smaller groups of protesters who will take more time. I’m hoping in the coming months, there’s a positive response in the government about some of these long-standing social issues.”

“The Chinese government has made it very clear that they would like the Hong Kong government and police to deal with problems and they still believe that we can, but yes, they also reminded us that there is always that last option — that last option is allowing the Peoples’ Liberation Army, the PLA — to be deployed in Hong Kong,” Chan said.

Yesterday, riot police and protesters in Hong Kong fought brief skirmishes near the Chinese border, the latest clashes during huge pro-democracy protests that have battered the financial hub.

In a now familiar pattern, the day began with a peaceful rally through Tuen Mun, a town in Hong Kong’s northwest, close to the border with mainland China.

At one point, a handful of protesters pulled down China’s flag flying outside a local government office and burned it.

Tensions soon spiked after police snatch squads rushed into a park where crowds had gathered and made a series of arrests.

Hundreds of activists then built barricades and dismantled nearby fences to arm themselves with makeshift clubs.

Objects were also thrown onto nearby train tracks, but protesters showed little appetite in holding ground, quickly retreating as soon as tear gas and rubber bullets were fired by police.

By last might, pockets of demonstrators and police were playing a familiar game of cat and mouse.

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