14 accused of violating mask ban in Hong Kong


They also know that Hong Kong is to remain a "semi-autonomous" state until the year 2047 under a "formula" of government that Beijing named "one country, two systems". Financial markets were closed for the holiday, although a lot of stores and restaurants were available.

"But what they are doing is destroying Hong Kong", said the Chief Executive at a press conference ahead of the Executive Council meeting.

"By the massive turnout" it is possible to observe people have not left us along with the motion", stated a 17-year-old protester who gave his title as Rocky, wearing all black and a mask on his face.

The anti-mask law is also applicable in schools and universities, with the Education Bureau asking secondary schools to inform how many students wear masks to school on Tuesday, the first day of classes since the ban was implemented.

The protests have plunged the former British colony into its worst political crisis in decades and are taking a growing toll on Hong Kong's economy, hitting its important tourism and retail sectors as it faces its first recession in a decade.

Lam finally withdrew that bill last month, but amid the government's perceived indifference to public anger - some 1.7 million people took to the streets at one point - and violent confrontations with riot police, protesters had already expanded their demands to include the right to elect their own government and an independent investigation into alleged police brutality.

"We express our deep dissatisfaction and our profound contempt for the hypocrisy of the European statement and the darkness of the intentions of some vis-à-vis China", China's embassy said in a note on its website.

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On Friday, Ms Lam invoked the emergency powers for the first time in more than 50 years to outlaw face masks, which protesters have used to shield their identities.

Tens of thousands of protesters, many families with children, took to the streets of Hong Kong over the weekend wearing face masks in defiance of colonial-era emergency laws invoked on Friday which ban masks at public rallies.

In other comments, she noted that Hong Kong has seen a drastic fall in tourist numbers in the wake of the social unrest, and that the impact on third-quarter economic data would "surely be very bad".

Tourism from China declined 42 per cent in August as the value of retail sales fell by nearly a quarter. They were all arrested in Wan Chai on October 6.

Many protesters, police and journalists have been injured in clashes, with police using rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons against demonstrators, some of whom throw bricks and petrol bombs. Both shooting victims also have been detained. Sixteen people have been charged with violating the anti-mask law, according to the government and public broadcaster RTHK. The court adjourned a hearing on their application for a judicial review of the government measure to later this month, it said. They had been released on bond and ordered to abide by a curfew, not leave Hong Kong, based on RTHK.

The anti-mask regulation is in line with global common practices, since similar laws and regulations have been implemented in Western countries including Germany, France and Canada, and in some states in the USA, she said.

-With assistance from Fion Li, Aaron Mc Nicholas, Tian Chen, Jinshan Hong and Stanley James.