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Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says no plans to use emergency powers for other laws

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Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that her administration had no plans to use emergency powers for the introduction of other laws and that the Chinese territory was equipped to handle the current situation on its own as the city braced for further demonstrations through the week.

[HONG KONG] Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that her administration had no plans to use emergency powers for the introduction of other laws and that the Chinese territory was equipped to handle the current situation on its own as the city braced for further demonstrations through the week.

Ms Lam was speaking at a news conference after a long weekend of violent protests at which thousands of people defied colonial-era emergency powers imposed on Saturday that had banned the wearing of face masks.

Ms Lam invoked the emergency powers last Friday for the first time in more than 50 years in a dramatic move intended to quell escalating violence in the Chinese-ruled city.

The ban on face masks during public assemblies took effect Saturday, under the emergency laws that allow authorities to "make any regulations whatsoever" in the public interest, Ms Lam had said.

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Speaking to the media on Tuesday before her weekly executive council meeting, Ms Lam vowed to stop violence and attacks on businesses, after days of demonstrations battered the city, paralysed its public transit system and led to a collapse in tourist numbers.

"This kind of violence has become limitless and lawless," Ms Lam told reporters. The city government "will use its greatest determination to halt these violent acts", she said.

Ms Lam said the government would offer support to industries affected by the protests and called for developers and store owners to provide relief measures.

Stressing the impact to Hong Kong's economy, she said that visitor arrivals to the Asian financial hub had dropped 50 per cent year-on-year during the Oct 1-6 National Day holiday period, when the city is usually packed with tourists.

Some businesses, including those with ties to the mainland and others whose owners have spoken out against protest violence or in support of the government, were vandalised over the weekend.

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG