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Global Times

HK chief urges peaceful end to PolyU stand-off

Global Times

By Yang Sheng in Hong Kong and Zhang Hui in Beijing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/19 13:15:33

Around 600 rioters and suspects involved in illegal activities have walked out of the besieged Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) campus, 200 of whom were under the age of 18 and allowed to return home, after rioters occupied the PolyU and engaged in fierce clashes with police over the last few days, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday.

Lam said that situation in PolyU should be solved in a peaceful and humanitarian way, as the government has sent principals and social workers into the campus to try and persuade the minors to leave. Police only made a record of each of the 200 minors who came out before allowing them to leave for home, Lam said. Police still have the right to further investigate their actions, she said.

The 400 suspects over the age of 18 who left the campus have been arrested, Lam said. Around 100 people are still refusing to leave the PolyU campus, she said.

Several Hong Kong universities have been occupied by rioters over the past few days, and Lam said that an arsenal of more than 1,000 unused Molotov cocktails were discovered at one university and some dangerous chemicals have been stolen from some university's laboratories.

Only a few of the rioters occupying the campus were students, Lam said.

Lam said it wasn't appropriate at this time for her to comment on the Hong Kong High Court's ruling that overturned legislation banning protestors from wearing masks at illegal assemblies. The Legislative Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and State Council's Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office both issued statements detailing their great concerns over the case, she said.

The Legislative Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress expresses deep concern over the Hong Kong's High Court ruling related to the Emergency Regulations Ordinance, after the High Court said that the Emergency Regulations Ordinance is "incompatible" with the Basic Law. Some NPC deputies also expressed strong objections to the ruling.

The spokesperson for the State Council's Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office said that the High Court's ruling was a blatant challenge to the authority of the Standing Committee of National People's Congress and the governance power of the region's Chief Executive, and will lead to negative social and political consequences.

In response to questions about the PLA Hong Kong Garrison's voluntary help in clearing the roadblocks over the weekend, Lam said that we should not over-interpret it, and the PLA Hong Kong Garrison has done charitable works in the past such as clearing fallen trees after a typhoon, visiting home for the elderly or arranging activities for young people.

Asked if she will formally ask the PLA Hong Kong Garrison to help, Lam said "We remain very confident that we are able to cope with the situation."

As for upcoming district council elections, Lam said the government expects the elections to be carried out smoothly and peacefully, calling on rioters and those showing sympathy to rioters to stop damaging and obstructing the public transit system.



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