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Global Times

HK lawmakers call for legislation banning masks during protests

Global Times

By Chen Qingqing, Zhao Juecheng in Hong Kong and Leng Shumei in Beijing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/22 23:08:42

HK lawmakers call for ban on masks

Hong Kong lawmakers and experts called for legislation banning masks at protests due to escalating violence over the last two months, a move they believed would curb rampant illegal actions by extreme protesters and protect the public security of the city.

Black T-shirts, masks and yellow helmets are essential equipment for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong, who have blocked roads and paralyzed the city.

The masks entice protesters to become rioters and hinder law enforcement, some Hong Kong lawmakers pointed out.

In protests over the last two months, some protesters were not simply protesting but also violently attacking [people and police], Junius Ho Kwan-yiu, a Hong Kong pro-establishment legislator told the Global Times on Thursday.

"They prepared with helmets, marbles, bows and arrows, which already go beyond the scale of democratic demands," Ho said.

This makes an anti-mask law "very necessary," Ho said. "If protesters think they are saying the right thing, why can't they [tear off masks and] face the public?"

The law will help prevent violent demonstrations and illegal actions, Ho said.

Chan Man-ki, a founding president of the Small and Medium Law Firms Association of Hong Kong, told the Hong Kong-based Wen Wei Po newspaper that as violent actions in Hong Kong "got close to terrorism," masks presented "huge difficulties" for police seeking to collect evidence for prosecutors.

Experts pointed out that a mask ban is applied in Germany, Canada and Russia, as well as some American states and cities such as New York City.

A Hong Kong protester was asked to take off his mask by two German police officers at a gathering of patriotic Chinese people in Koln on August 17, according to online videos.

The protester, who allegedly intended to disturb the gathering, walked off after taking off the mask at the police's request. In Canada, people wearing masks at illegal protests can be sentenced up to 10 years in prison, Wen Wei Po reported.

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