Curfew rumblings dismissed

Top News | Angel Kwan 15 Nov 2019

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung played down a late night meeting at Government House amid speculation curfew would be imposed after some of the worst violence in five months of unrest.

The rumor gained traction yesterday when state media outlet The Global Times deleted a tweet claiming the SAR government would announce a weekend curfew.

"[The Hong Kong] government is expected to announce curfew for weekend," the paper said in a post on its Twitter account.

The editor of the Global Times, Hu Xijin, later tweeted that he had asked for the tweet to be deleted because the sourcing was "not sufficient."

Hu added: "I just checked how the information was obtained. My conclusion is that the information is not sufficient to support this exclusive news."

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor held a meeting with principal officials until midnight on Wednesday.

Cheung said the meeting had "no specific purpose," but was to discuss a way out and strengthen coordination between bureaus and was held late at night because officials were busy.

He was answering an urgent question on emergency measures to allay public resentment from pro-democracy lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen yesterday at a Legislative Council meeting.

Cheung added that 100 officers from the Correctional Services Department have voluntarily supplemented the police as "special constables" and that it would help relieve the burden on police.

The government later said in a statement that the special constable scheme was a "pilot run," adding that prison officers are familiar with the use of anti-riot equipment in their work.

"During their appointment as special constables, relevant CSD officers will be temporarily on loan to the police on a part-time basis to discharge the duties of special constables," the government said.

During the Legco debate, pro-establishment lawmaker Leung Che-cheung asked whether government officials are willing to clean up blocked roads.

"We are willing to consider doing so," Cheung responded. "Maybe we can do it with legislative councillors as well."

The Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions' Alice Mak Mei-kuen said the government should have cross-bureau, large-scale anti-violence measures and that officials who do not want to do their job should resign.

The pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong earlier met with Lam. Its chairwoman, Starry Lee Wai-king, said the DAB believes it is "not yet the time" for a curfew, and that the party suggested the government set up an "anti-violence coordination center."

The government officially dismissed the curfew rumors at around 8pm last night.

angel.kwan@singtaonewscorp.com

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