2 protesters charged in 1st use of Hong Kong's new mask ban


Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced on October 4 that she would invoke the colonial-era Emergency Regulation Ordinance to enact the ban, without discussion or voting by Hong Kong's legislature.to quell protests now in their 18th straight week.

Many malls also remained shuttered as streets downtown turned into a sea of umbrellas held aloft both against rain and because they've become a symbol of protest, used by demonstrators as shields against police identification, tear gas and rubber bullets.

Lam said the ban on face masks, which many protesters use to hide their identities, was ordered under the emergency laws that allow authorities to "make any regulations whatsoever" in whatever they deem to be in the public interest.

However, violence erupted as police dispersed crowds with tear gas, and then battled hardcore protesters in multiple locations.

Protesters have taken aim at some of China's largest banks, trashing automated teller machines at branches of Bank of China Ltd's 601988.SS 3988.HK Hong Kong unit, for example, while nearby worldwide counterparts, such as Standard Chartered PLC, have escaped untouched.

The Sunday night protests, the second night of violence since the imposition of colonial-era emergency laws on Friday, saw scores of protesters arrested and the first warning from Chinese military personnel stationed in the territory. The ban, he said, would have little impact on the growing number of young protesters willing - and often eager - to confront the armed riot police.

More than half of the roughly 90 train stations in Hong Kong were closed Monday, though the closure had a limited impact on commuters as Monday fell on a public holiday. According to Hong Kong media HK01, the student is a first-year student at the City University of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong's High Court on Sunday rejected an application by pro-democracy lawmakers for an interim injunction against the mask ban, although it has yet to rule on whether or not to allow a judicial review into the move. A metro station in the nightlife district of Wan Chai had a sheet draped over it which read: "This way to HELL".

The worldwide finance hub convulsed with three straight days of rallies and riots after the city's pro-Beijing leader invoked colonial-era emergency powers to ban face coverings at protests.

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Protesters on Sunday chanted "Hong Kongers, revolt" and "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong", as riot police monitored them from overhead walkways and footbridges, some taking photographs and filming the marchers.

Instead of deterring rioting and calming anti-government demonstrations that have gripped the global trading hub for four months, the ban that criminalized the wearing of face masks at rallies only redoubled the determination of both peaceful marchers and more radical black-clad youths.

In a televised speech Saturday, Mrs. Lam condemned the protesters who rampaged through neighborhoods across the city on Friday night, destroying traffic lights, spray-painting ATMs and damaging state-owned Chinese businesses - or those whose owners are widely seen as hostile to the protest movement.

The increasingly violent protests that have roiled the former British colony for four months began in opposition to a bill that would have allowed extradition to mainland China, but have spiraled into a broader pro-democracy movement.

"Daytime protests are peaceful", Ms. Ng, an interior designer, said as the sun began to set. "She can't do anything she likes", said retiree Patricia Anyeung, who wore a mask while marching with her sister, Rebecca. He urged people to oppose violence ahead of grassroots district council elections set for November 24. "We say that she doesn't have such powers, that she can not avoid" the Legislative Council.

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Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po in a blog on Sunday said despite recent obstacles, the banking system remained sound and the financial market was functioning well.

"The government is getting more and more outrageous", Chan said.