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Hong Kong weighs ban on face masks while adopting emergency laws

Protesters cover their faces to hide their identity when they retreat from riot police during a demonstration.

Aidan Marzo | SOPA Image LightRocket | Getty Images

The Hong Kong government is expected to discuss emergency laws on Friday, which will include a ban on face masks during protests, Reuters reports as China's territory is seized by an escalating cycle of violence. Already weakened guidance on the use of force by police, according to documents reviewed by Reuters on Thursday, as they try to curb anti-government protests that have been rocking Hong Kong for nearly four months.

Relaxing restrictions on use The police force came into effect in the face of some of the most violent upheavals, however, on protests Tuesday, when a high school student was shot and wounded by an officer ̵

1; the first demonstrator to come under fire.

More than 100 people were injured after police fired about 1,400 tear gas cartridges, 900 rubber bullets and six rounds when protesters threw gasoline bombs and fired sticks. [19659002] The Beijing-backed local government was scheduled to hold a meeting on Friday morning, likely to have passed a colonial-era emergency law that had not been in place for half a century, two sources who knew the matter told Reuters problem. [19659002] Earlier Thursday, a media ban on the expected ban on face masks – which hundreds of thousands of protesters wear to hide their identities and protect themselves from tear gas – has given Hong Kong's stock market a maximum of weeks.

The growing opposition to the government of the former British colony has plunged the financial center into the biggest political crisis of decades and posed the most popular problem for Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power.

Protesters are angry over what they see as creeping Beijing's interference in the affairs of their city, despite the promise of autonomy in the "one country, two systems" formula, in which Hong Kong returned to China in 1997.

China denies accusing it of interfering with and accusing foreign governments, including the United States and Britain, of disrupting anti-Chinese sentiment.

When speculation on a state of emergency curtailed, on Thursday, police members moved to areas of Hong Kong where violent clashes took place between protesters and security forces in recent weeks.

An angry mob wound the police, some of them wearing black masks, at the Taikuo Subway Station in eastern Hong Kong. They shouted, "Take off your masks!" Later, one person was arrested.

Later, police fired several tear gas ammunition into the crowd, who mocked and chanted slogans of the pro-democracy movement. They cleared the streets before retreating to a station that was closed to passengers.

Violence also broke out in Tuen Muni, New Territories, according to police, where protesters built barricades and damaged government agencies.

Use of force

Local media Now television and cable reported that changes to the police procedures manual came into force on September 30, on the eve of Tuesday's violent protests during a large-scale Chinese Day protest.

Reuters was unable to confirm when the changes were made, but did see police documents that showed changes to some instructions on how officers could act during the force review.

The updated guidance also removed the line according to which "officers are responsible for their own actions." Noting only that "field officers should exercise their discretion to determine what level of force is justified in the situation."

Police declined to comment, asking whether

"Instructions on the use of force include details of action. This may affect the normal and effective operation of the police and the crime prevention police if the details are made public," police said in a statement. Reuters.

Hong Kong police have long admired their professionalism compared to some forces in other Asian countries.

But the public has become increasingly hostile to the force in recent weeks amid accusations of cruel tactics. Police say they have shown restraint.

An order that began because of the opposition so far, a recalled extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial does not indicate a waiver.

18-year-old Tony Tsang, who was shot at close range when he was fighting an officer who appeared to be a white pole, has since been accused of unrest for a maximum 10-year sentence. , and assaulting a police officer.

Tsang was hospitalized and unable to attend Thursday's hearing, but his lawyer appeared on his behalf. About 200 supporters showed up to watch the process.

"Ingenious crimes"

Elizabeth Kwat, a lawmaker on the Beijing political party, said at a press conference about the prohibited ban on face masks under the law, which gives police wide-ranging emergencies. The powers were aimed at ending "illegal assembly."

"This law is not aimed at peaceful protesters. It is aimed at targeting rebels who have committed horrific crimes," she said.

But Democrats fear the emergency powers could be used to further restrict freedoms.

"The introduction of a law against the mask in its current social state is even more angry with people and will certainly be met with increased violence," legislator Fernando Cheung told Reuters. "This is no different than setting fire to a fire. The riots will result."

Goldman Sachs estimated this week that the city could lose deposits of as much as $ 4 billion to rival Singapore Banking Center from June to August. [19659002] On Thursday, Lam Chi-Wai, chairman of the Junior Police Association, called on the mayor to set up a curfew to maintain public order.

"We cannot work alone – clapping with only one hand – without appropriate measures and top-level support," Lam said.

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