Lam Condemns Violence, Won’t Give In to Demands: Hong Kong Update

Iain Marlow and Natalie Lung
Lam Condemns Violence, Won’t Give In to Demands: Hong Kong Update

(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam warned protesters that violence wouldn’t help achieve their goals as the Asian financial center reeled from a tense day of citywide protests that saw a demonstrator shot, another man set on fire and tear gas waft through luxury shopping malls.

The protests, which erupted anew Friday over the death of student last week, carried into the work week Monday, with activists seeking to disrupt business and transportation networks. In the chaos, a 21-year-old protester was shot by police, while another man was set on fire during an argument with a group of people in the northeastern area of Ma On Shan.

Monday’s flare-up comes after a weekend of rallies in the wake of the student’s death from injuries suffered near a protest last week -- the first fatality directly tied to police action in months of unrest. The historic demonstrations began after the government proposed now-withdrawn legislation that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. The movement has since expanded to call for greater democratic accountability, as well as an independent inquiry into the violence.

Here’s the latest (all times local):

Some MTR stations to shut (6:34 p.m.)

Eight MTR stations in the city will close at 9 p.m. Monday, local outlet Now TV reported, with transit hubs Causeway Bay and Mong Kok among them. Other stations were closed earlier Monday and some bus services disrupted as protesters clashed with police.

Lam urges calm, warns protesters (6:15 p.m.)

Chief Executive Lam addressed reporters after a day of chaos, warning violence could lead Hong Kong to the point of no return and saying her priority was to stop the violence and restore calm. She said violent protests wouldn’t achieve demands and cautioned that online rumors could mislead citizens and cause panic. She said more than 60 people were injured in the day’s clashes.

”Finally, if there is still any wishful thinking that by escalating violence the Hong Kong SAR government will yield to pressure to satisfy the so-called political demands, I’m making this statement clear and loud here -- that will not happen,” she said. “Violence is not going to give us any solution to the problems that Hong Kong is facing. Our joint priority now as a city is to end the violence and to return Hong Kong to normal as soon as possible.”

Officer who drove motorcycle into protesters suspended (4:37 p.m.)

A police officer who repeatedly drove a motorcycle through a crowd during a protest in the Kwai Fong area earlier Monday has been suspended from duty, Chief Superintendent Tse Chun-chung told a news briefing. Tse also said the officer who shot a protester that same morning fired three rounds after feeling threatened.

In all, police said they had arrested 266 people, ages 11 to 74, over the past week for offenses including illegal assembly, criminal damage of property and assaulting a police officer.

Fire victim in critical condition (4:16 p.m.)

The man set on fire during Monday’s chaos in Ma On Shan is in critical condition and being treated at Prince of Wales Hospital, a spokesman for the Hospital Authority confirmed. Some 49 people had been injured as of 2 p.m. Monday, including one man shot earlier, the authority said. Four others were in serious condition.

More bus disruptions (3:15 p.m.)

Citybus and First Bus said they had now suspended 47 routes in the city, with more than 50 diverted. Hong Kong bus operator KMB also said it suspended 67 routes.

Local stocks extend losses (2:28 p.m.)

Stocks in Hong Kong led most Asian shares lower Monday, as the unrest renewed concerns about the restive Asian financial hub. The Hang Seng Index declined almost 3%.

Reports man set on fire (2:02 p.m.)

Police are investigating reports that a man was set on fire Monday in the northeastern area of Ma On Shan, according to a police official who asked not to be identified. Videos of a man being doused with a flammable liquid during an argument on an elevated crosswalk and set alight were circulated on social media. The circumstances that led up to the attack and the man’s condition were unknown.

Buses diverted (1:53 p.m.)

Hong Kong’s Citybus and First Bus services were suspended on 32 routes, with another 40 diverted. The move follows disruptions to the MTR system.

Protester in intensive care (1:02 p.m.)

The police bullet that struck a protester earlier in Sai Wan Ho has been removed from his body, South China Morning Post newspaper reported, citing an unidentified person. The bullet damaged his liver and right kidney, the paper said, adding that he was moved to an intensive care unit.

Government appeals for calm (12:35 p.m.)

The Hong Kong government urged in a statement Monday afternoon for protesters to remain “calm and rational.” “Protesters should stop all acts that threaten others’ safety and obstruct police’s lawful execution of duty,” the government said.

Police deny firing ‘at will’ (12:15 p.m.)

Police dismissed as “totally false and malicious” online rumors that they had ordered officers to use their firearms “at will.” The police force reaffirmed in a statement on Facebook that their commitment to upholding “strict guidelines and orders regarding the use of force.” In addition to the shooting incident in Sai Wan Ho, police said officers drew their weapons in the Sha Tin and Tung Chung areas.

Bank branches close (11:03 a.m.)

Banks temporarily shut some branches located near this morning’s flare-ups, but most major investment banks and other financial firms in Hong Kong said they were otherwise carrying on as normal. Still, police in riot gear milled across the street from JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s main offices, and global firms including HSBC Holdings Plc, UBS Group AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and BNP Paribas SA sent notes to staff cautioning them to take care during commutes and to coordinate with managers if they have any trouble reaching the office -- messages that have become relatively routine in recent months.

China Construction Bank Corp. and China Citic Bank International closed some locations affected by the turmoil, and Bank of East Asia said branches at five local universities were closed.

Hospital Authority says one shot (10:59 a.m.)

One person suffering from a gunshot wound was in critical condition, a spokesman for the city’s Hospital Authority said, compared with earlier police statements that two had been shot and injured. A police representative couldn’t confirm how many had been shot and admitted to the hospital when asked to clarify the authority’s information. Twelve others had been injured and sent to the hospital, including one who was in serious condition, as of 10 a.m.

Calls to ‘paralyze Central’ (10:30 a.m.)

Calls to “paralyze Central” gained traction on social media forums favored by protesters, as efforts to organize a general strike shifted toward the city’s core financial area. Postings circulated on the messaging app Telegram called for flash mob-style rallies to begin around noon Monday.

Benchmark index slips (9:59 a.m.)

The Hang Seng Index dropped 1.5% Monday, as the city’s equity-driven rebound began to unravel amid concern over escalating local violence, as well as signs that optimism over a potential U.S.-China trade deal has been overdone. Warning signs were already showing in the market last week, with the gauge trading in overbought territory, above its 200-day moving average and higher than the key 27,000 point level.

Protester in critical condition (9:40 a.m.)

One protester who was shot with a live round Monday morning is in critical condition, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported, citing an unidentified medical source. The protester was sent to Eastern Hospital. A Hospital Authority spokesman couldn’t immediately confirm the condition of the injured person when reached by Bloomberg News.

Canceled classes (9:15 a.m.)

Most of Hong Kong’s major universities announced they were suspending classes Monday amid widespread protests and violence. The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Shue Yan University said they were canceling classes today. The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University and the Education University of Hong Kong also stopped classes today, according to local media reports.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology said it was canceling classes after many sites on campus were hit by “mass-scale malicious vandalism” on Friday. Chow Tsz-lok, the student who died after suffering a brain injury following his fall last week, had attended the university.

MTR shuts stations (9 a.m.)

The city’s rail operator MTR Corp. said it had shut the Whampoa, Kwai Fong and Tung Chung subway stations amid widespread vandalism and disruptions. The company also said it had suspended some service on the West Rail Line and the Ma On Shan line.

Police confirm shooting (8:30 a.m.)

Hong Kong police confirmed two protesters were shot and injured by an officer at 7:24 a.m. outside the Sai Wan Ho MTR station on the eastern side of Hong Kong Island, a spokesman said. The injured demonstrators were conscious as they were taken to the city’s Eastern Hospital.

The South China Morning Post reported that one of the protesters was in critical condition, citing a person they did not identify. A Hospital Authority spokesman, who only confirmed one injured person was sent to the hospital, could not immediately confirm the person’s condition

--With assistance from Dominic Lau, Fion Li, Amanda Wang, Huang Zhe, Cathy Chan and Adam Haigh.

To contact the reporters on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.net;Natalie Lung in Hong Kong at flung6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Daniel Ten Kate, Karen Leigh

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