Hong Kong police to ban march planned against gang violence on protesters
Robie de Guzman • July 26, 2019 • 1064
Hong Kong police on Thursday (July 25) defended their decision to ban a march against mob violence in the Yuen Long district this coming weekend.
Organizers of the march planned to demonstrate against violence inflicted on anti-government protesters and commuters at a train station on Sunday (July 21) by an apparent gang wielding batons.
Marches, rallies and other political events in Hong Kong generally need to receive a so-called letter of no objection from police before going ahead, which was on Thursday withheld by police citing safety concerns.
Sunday’s unprecedented attack led to fierce criticism of the police, who have been accused of arriving late to the scene and failing to immediately arrest the perpetrators. Hong Kong residents came out in the subsequent days to build large-scale “Lennon Walls” – a colorful notice board with political statements, where they encourage more people to come out to march to the Yuen Long MTR station, the site of the attack.
Sunday’s attack left 45 people injured and came during a night of escalating violence that opened new fronts in Hong Kong’s widening crisis over an extradition bill that could see people from the territory sent to China for trial in Communist Party-controlled courts. (REUTERS)
“Under the new normal, it is almost not possible for us to wait until there are no more local cases before relaxing the social distancing measures,” the official said in a media briefing on Tuesday (August 25).
Chan said unless there are drastic changes to the epidemic situation, the government would issue new directions before Friday specifically the following:
(1) Extend the dine-in services allowed to 9 pm;
(2) Allow re-opening of scheduled premises including cinemas, beauty parlours and also some outdoor sports premises for activities involving little physical contact; and
(3) Allow people not to wear masks in country parks and while doing exercise.
Prof. Chan reminded the public, however, that while the number of daily new cases has been gradually declining, the epidemic situation still has not completely stabilized.
Thus, she advised Hong Kong nationals not to be complacent and maintain good personal and environmental hygiene.
Several experts have confirmed the first case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) reinfection in Hong Kong.
Based on the report, the 33-year-old patient got infected with COVID-19 in Hong Kong and recovered last April. However, he again tested positive for the virus mid-August after traveling to Spain and the United Kingdom.
Experts say he got infected with two different strains of the virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the exact immune response time of a recovered COVID-19 patient is yet to be determined.
“What we are learning about infection is that people do develop an immune response and what is not completely clear yet is how strong that immune response is and for how long that immune response lasts,” according to WHO Health Emergencies Program Technical Lead Maria Van Kerhove.
However, the Department of Health (DOH) said they are still reviewing the reinfection situation.
“Tinitignan po natin at minamapa natin ang (We’re still looking into and mapping out the) international experiences, so that we can have appropriate evidence and we can give you accurate information,” DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
The DOH is also reviewing the cases of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año and Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, and that of Dr. Karen Senen who recently succumbed to COVID-19.
The Health Department reiterates the importance of following minimum health standards to prevent the spread of the virus. -AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)
Britain announced on Monday (July 20) it will suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong in an escalation of its dispute with China over the introduction of a national security law for the former British colony.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told parliament the extradition treaty will be suspended immediately and an arms embargo will be extended to Hong Kong.
“We will not consider reactivating those arrangements, unless and until, there are clear and robust safeguards, which are able to prevent extradition from the UK being misused under the new national security legislation,” Raab said.
The ban is another nail in the coffin of what then Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015 cast as a “golden era” of ties with China, the world’s second-largest economy.
London has been dismayed by a crackdown in Hong Kong, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997, and the perception that China did not tell the whole truth over the coronavirus outbreak.
Australia and Canada suspended extradition treaties with Hong Kong earlier this month. (Reuters)
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