HONG KONG — Hong Kong’s leader pledged on Monday to “spare no effort” in bringing an end to anti-government protests that have wracked the city for more than five months, following a day of violence in which one person was shot and another set on fire.
Carrie Lam’s comments are likely to fuel speculation that harsher legal and police measures may be in the works to curb the protests.
“I do not want to go into details, but I just want to make it very clear that we will spare no effort in finding ways and means that could end the violence in Hong Kong as soon as possible,” Lam told reporters.
Lam also refused to accept the protesters’ demands for political concessions.
“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 am making this statement clear and loud here: That will not happen,” Lam said, using the initials for Special Administrative Region, which describes the city’s status as a semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
Monday’s violence is likely to further inflame passions in Hong Kong after a student who fell during an earlier protest succumbed to his injuries on Friday and police arrested six pro-democracy lawmakers over the weekend on charges of obstructing the local assembly during a raucous May 11 meeting. All were freed on bail.
China’s ruling Communist Party has also indicated it may try to find a way to enact anti-subversion laws in the territory, after such measures were shelved previously due to public opposition.
While Beijing has dismissed reports it may replace Lam next year, the party last week issued a statement saying it would “perfect” the system to appoint and dismiss Hong Kong’s leader and top officials.
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