Transcript of remarks by CE at media session (with video)
Chief Executive: I just want to repeat what I have said in English. Today, from early hours till now, what the netizens have mobilised and organised in the form of citywide strike and social unrest has happened throughout Hong Kong. These violent activities and disturbances have caused major consequences for almost everyone in Hong Kong. People could not get to work, to school. They dare not even to come out on the streets, because even in the central business district, there were such incidents of social disturbances.
The second point I want to make is today's social disturbances have resulted in a large number of casualties - there are over 60 as far as I could gather – and particularly there were two cases causing major bodily harm to two individuals. They are still in critical condition in hospitals. One is the outcome of an open-fire incident by a police officer in the course of enforcement operation. The other is a very malicious case of setting an individual on fire in front of many witnesses. This is a blatant breach of peace and the rule of law, and is a totally inhumane act that nobody should condone.
The third point I want to make is there have been from time to time a lot of malicious rumours being circulated on the social media. I suspect they are motivated by some intentions. The Government will spare no time in clarifying those speculations and rumours in order to avoid disorderly incidents from happening.
I want to appeal to everyone in Hong Kong to stay calm and refrain from taking part in any unlawful activities. Given these widespread unlawful activities, members of the community should stay away whenever such activities are taking place. Otherwise, they will be putting their own safety at risk.
Finally, 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'm making this statement clear and loud here: That will not happen. Violence is not going to give us any solution to the problems that Hong Kong is facing. Our joint priority now as a city is to end the violence and to return Hong Kong to normal as soon as possible.
Reporter: Mr Andrew Li in July suggested that the Government should set up a commission of inquiry to find the truth about the mayhem, and he added the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Council), with the best will of the world, can't deliver an effective job in that sense. Four months on, the international experts panel echoed Mr Andrew Li's view. Do you regret that four months have been wasted and the situation has worsened to the point, and our society is being put on the brink? Thank you.
Chief Executive: Our society has been put under strain because of the extensive violence by the rioters, and this is exactly why I came out this evening to send those very clear messages. There's no question that escalating violence could get what the rioters want - not from the Government, not from society at large. Violence will only lead to more violence and once we satisfy the rioters, because they have resorted to violence, I can assure you that more violence will follow.
As far as the IPCC's work, or, the question about a commission of inquiry, our position has been consistent throughout these five months. I strongly urge that we should give the IPCC the time and the space to look at the various events that they have identified, which they have invoked their statutory powers to conduct this thematic study. As far as one of the international experts' advice or views, these views are for the council, for IPCC to consider and it is not for me to comment on those individual advice tendered by the overseas experts. I should just point out that what the IPCC is undertaking is a very difficult and complex exercise, and I have confidence that the IPCC will spare no effort to focus on the fact-finding or the thematic study and come out with an interim report or a first-stage report within the six-month period, that is January next year. The Government will certainly look at the report very seriously and decide on the way forward.
Reporter: You always mentioned that ending the violence is your priority. Given the current situation, how would you evaluate your priority job? And if it escalates, what specific measures will you take?
Chief Executive: In the past five months, we have been resorting to various methods and means to tackle this escalating violence. 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.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Monday, November 11, 2019
Issued at HKT 20:52
Issued at HKT 20:52
Audio / Video
CE meets the media