Hang Seng index dropped 1.11% at 25,821.03 on Friday, October 4 following the government’s decision to invoke an emergency law.
Accordingly, the emergency law is an attempt to maintain order during the hard time in Hong Kong. Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, has just recently announced the government’s attempt to address “the state of serious public danger.”
That said, she does not claim that Hong Kong is currently in a state of emergency. Instead, Lam states that the country is possibly in serious danger. Hence, the government strongly believes that the emergency law is essential.
“As a responsible government, we have the duty to use all available means in order to stop the escalating violence and restore calmness in society,” she said.
Hang Seng index, as a consequence, performed poorly on this Friday. Looking into the data, utilities, local property developers, and financial service providers are the top contributors for the poor performance.
The Ban on Face Masks in Hong Kong
Regarding the ban on face masks in Hong Kong, the policy will take effect starting from October 5 onward. The violators of the emergency law might receive sentence to pay HKD 25.000 worth of fine or serve one year imprisonment.
Carrie Lam argued that this policy is gravely necessary to combat the chaotic, unrest violence in the rallies. This is so for almost all protesters who carried out vandalism and violence often covered their face.
“The purpose was to hide their identity and evade the law and they have become more and more daring,” Lam said.
Moreover, Lam highlights the gravity to identify every protester. By doing so, the government will be able to determine which is the real provocators during the supposedly peaceful protests.
Reflecting upon the law, Hong Kong’s government has the authority to produce such regulations through Emergency Regulations Ordinance (ERO). ERO, which has lasted since the British colonial era, grants Chief Executive the power to do many things.
Out of all things, it allows government to censor media, search premises without warrants, take control of ports and transport, implement curfews, and more if certain conditions are met. Considering Hong Kong’s current situation, it is legal to utilize ERO.
However, the government is only using it to disallow the use of face masks in rallies for now. Depending on the context, the use of face masks for medical reasons, and subsequently other relevant reasons, are still permitted.
In the first place, the use of face masks during the protests is pertinent to two things. The first one is to protect protesters from police’s tear gas. Meanwhile, the other reason is to protect their identity so that we will not receive persecutions by certain parties outside the rallies.