Govt urged to set up task force to halt violence
Updated: 2019-11-13 07:50
Lawmakers decry violence that has 'crossed bottom line of civilization'
Hong Kong's pro-establishment lawmakers on Tuesday urged the SAR government to set up an intergovernmental task force to end the protests of violence that have gripped the city for more than five months.
More than 10 legislators made the call following two days of some of the worst violence seen since the unrest erupted in mid-June.
On Monday, masked rioters resorted to acts of violence as they tried to effectuate a "general strike". In addition to their usual apparatus of firebombing MTR stations, starting fires and erecting barricades fashioned from roadside facilities, including bricks pried from the pavements, on the streets, as well as clashing with police, radical protesters set a man on fire after splashing him with inflammable liquid, following an exchange of altercations.
"It has completely exceeded the bottom line of civilization and morality," said legislator Alice Mak Mei-kuen, who read out a joint statement from the group at a press conference.
She said the task force is needed because the public should not solely rely on the police to contain the chaos and, so far, the government has not deployed its resources to the fullest to deal with the problem.
"The government has created a cross-departmental unit to tackle rodent problems. So, why not one for the citywide violence?" said Mak.
She also urged the government to ensure that the upcoming District Council elections are fair and just to allow the people to air their views through the ballot box free from fear.
Barrister and lawmaker Priscilla Leung Mei-fun said the government should learn from the United Kingdom's handling of a riot in 2011, by setting up a committee to deal with the situation.
She also called on the public to stop glorifying over the violence that has "lost rationality and humanity".
Legislator Holden Chow Ho-ding suggested the establishment of a 24-hour special court to accelerate the prosecution of those involved in recent protests as a stronger deterrent.
The lawmakers also called on the community to support the government in law enforcement to restore law and order.
Passengers walk along the tracks to reach Sha Tin MTR Station on Tuesday as objects rioters threw onto the tracks made the train unable to stop at the station. China Daily
(HK Edition 11/13/2019 page4)