Hong Kong government condemns violent acts

Robie de Guzman   •   August 26, 2019   •   302

(Image grabbed from Reuters footage)

The government of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on early Monday morning condemned the violent acts by protesters in Kwai Tsing, Tsuen Wan and other districts on Sunday.

Protests turned violent in Tsuen Wan, in the western New Territories of Hong Kong, as radical protesters hurled petrol bombs at police officers and brutally assaulted them.

In response to the violence on Sunday, a Government spokesman said the following:

In the procession and assembly in Kwai Tsing and Tsuen Wan yesterday, despite that a Letter of No Objection had been issued following discussion between the Police and the organizer, some protesters deviated from the original route during the procession, blocked roads, confronted the police, wantonly attacked police officers with things like bricks and iron rods, and hurled petrol bombs at police vehicles and officers many times, seriously breaching the public peace and posing a grave threat to the safety of police officers on duty as well as the members of the public at the scene.

Some protesters removed a national flag at Kwai Chung Sports Ground, the assembly venue, and trampled on it. The act challenges the national authority and allegedly violates the National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance.

At night, some radical protesters vandalized with violence a number of shops in Tsuen Wan. The police officers attending the scene were attacked by a number of violent protesters at one point and, with the officers’ lives under threat, an officer fired a warning shot into the air. The radical protesters’ violent acts later also spread to various areas including Sham Shui Po, Tsim Sha Tsui and the Kowloon entrances of the Cross-Harbor Tunnel.

The escalating illegal and violent acts of radical protesters are not only outrageous, they also push Hong Kong to the verge of a very dangerous situation. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government severely condemns these acts and the Police will strictly follow up on them.

The HKSAR Government appeals to members of the public to combat violence and uphold the rule of law together so that order can be restored in society as soon as possible. (Reuters)

Pro-Beijing supporters heckled by protesters in Hong Kong mall

UNTV News   •   September 12, 2019

Pro-Beijing supporters sang the Chinese national anthem before they were heckled.  (Courtesy: Keith Ng)

Pro-Beijing supporters gathered at an upscale Hong Kong shopping mall to display the Chinese flag and chant slogans supporting the Hong Kong police on Thursday (September 12), before being heckled by pro-democracy protesters.

Demonstrators supporting Beijing sang the Chinese national anthem and “Ode to The Motherland” in a flashmob-style protest at the IFC mall in the morning. Video also showed them waving China’s national flags.

Pro-democracy protesters soon arrived and chanted “return to the mainland”.

Hong Kong residents had been gathering to sing a popular protest anthem “Glory to Hong Kong” at malls, football stadiums and on the streets in the past week. More peaceful pro-democracy protests are scheduled over the next few days alongside the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. (REUTERS)

HK tourism workers stage protest to call on social stability

Jeck Deocampo   •   September 11, 2019

Tourism workers in China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) staged a protest on Tuesday by driving buses slowly, calling on social stability and economic recovery.

Over 60 tour buses gathered at Shing Kai Road in Kowloon on Tuesday morning and the protest began at around 10:30.

The tourism industry in Hong Kong is experiencing a chilly winter with sluggish business, as the city is losing inland tourist arrivals due to weeks of violence.

“My drivers have gained nothing for three consecutive months,” said Chou Chih-hsiung, a bus operator.

“I hope things could be quenched as soon as possible so as to restore peace in Hong Kong. Then our tourism industry could resume business operation as soon as possible. We should promote Hong Kong and recover it as before, so that people would feel that Hong Kong is the safest city and the best destination of tourism,” said Wen Kuan-ch’eng, a tourism worker.

According to the data released by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, inbound tourists to Hong Kong dropped by about 40 percent in August year on year. Recently, Hong Kong’s tour bus drivers, tour guides and other tourism workers have earned less and even experienced laid-offs.Hong Kong tourism practitioners are eager to see the society returns to peace as soon as possible.

“This industry is indeed hit heavily. All of us. Even mine is a medium-sized travel agency, it still has few tour groups to handle,” said Chuang Hui, a tourism worker.

“The most important thing is that this is not our will. We don’t like these riots to destroy the society. We hope the things are quenched as soon as possible, and then we will do some work to rekindle tourists’ confidence to come to Hong Kong,” said Dicky Yip, chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Practitioners’ Union.

Now “ending the chaos and restoring order” has become the broadest consensus and strongest desire of all walks of life in Hong Kong. Timothy Chui Ting-pong, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Association, pointed out that as long as the social order could be restored, Hong Kong still could see a long-term development in tourism.

“We have confidence in our tourism industry. We hope that through the adjustment this time, our Hong Kong’s tourism industry could work more for the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area,” he said. (REUTERS)

New York governor proposes ban on flavored e-cigarettes

Robie de Guzman   •   September 10, 2019

A man smokes an electronic cigarette vaporizer, also known as an e-cigarette, in Toronto, August 7, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed legislation on Monday (September 9) to ban flavored e-cigarettes statewide in an effort to protect young people from the unknown consequences of vaping.

“Common sense says if you don’t know what you’re smoking, don’t smoke it,” Cuomo told reporters at a news conference. “And right now, we don’t know what you’re smoking in a lot of these vaping substances,” he said.

The governor’s announcement comes after a nationwide surge in mysterious, serious lung illnesses possibly related to vaping, which has also been linked to five deaths in the United States.

The decision is of a piece with how vaping is currently being viewed by many on the street in New York.

“You don’t know what the hell you’re smoking,” Brian, a construction worker, told Reuters. “You don’t know what they’re putting in that oil.”

U.S. public health officials on Friday announced that they are investigating about 450 cases of the illness across 33 states and one U.S. territory, including 41 cases in the state of New York. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said they have not linked the illnesses to any specific e-cigarette product or ingredient.

If the proposed legislation were to become law, New York would become the second state to ban flavored e-cigarettes, following Michigan, which passed a ban on Wednesday.

While e-cigarettes are promoted as a product to help smokers cut down or quit, health officials have expressed concerns that many e-cigarette flavors are designed to get a new generation hooked on nicotine.

Many of the reported illnesses involved vaping products, including cannabis products, containing vitamin E acetate, an oil derived from vitamin E that is potentially dangerous if inhaled,

Cuomo, sitting beside New York Commissioner of Health, Dr. Howard Zucker, also announced that the state’s Department of Health was issuing subpoenas to three e-cigarette companies, Honey Cut Labs LLC, Floraplex Terpenes and Mass Terpenes LLC. The Department of Health obtained samples from the three companies and found high levels of vitamin E acetate in their products.

Cuomo said stores that sell e-cigarettes will be required to disclose potential health consequences.

“It’s quite simple: Don’t do it,” Cuomo said. “Don’t do it because we don’t know if it’s safe.” (Reuters)

(Production by: Dan Fastenberg and Hussein al Waaile)

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