The government of Hong Kong plans to limit access to the internet, told AFP on Monday a member of the executive council, three days after the ban on the wearing of the mask in rallies, which, contrary to its purpose, has fueled the finding.
“As long as there are ways to quell the riots, the government can not rule out the possibility of banning the internet,” Ip Kwok-him, a member of the executive council and pro-Beijing MP, told AFP.
The Internet is an indispensable tool for the pro-democracy movement that uses online forums and encrypted messaging to organize the actions of the protest. Ip Kwok-him, however, stressed that restricting internet access could have negative consequences for Hong Kong.
“I think that one of the conditions of implementation of the ban of the Internet would be not to affect the companies of Hong Kong”, tempered this member of the executive council, which is the advisory organ of the head of the executive Carrie Lam.
Vandalized metro stations
This new threat comes after three consecutive days of flashmobs and unauthorized actions, which brought together tens of thousands of people throughout the semi-autonomous territory. Many metro stations have been vandalized by radical groups, and much of the network has been shut down for three consecutive days.
Companies with ties to China, including Chinese banks, have also been targeted for looting. It is the decision, Friday afternoon, to prohibit the protesters to hide their faces that set fire to the powder. Carrie Lam took this step after meeting the executive council, considering it necessary to end four months of unprecedented protest.
“The law is unfair”
On Monday morning, two first people appeared for breaking this ban, a student and a 38-year-old woman. The two defendants were charged with unlawful assembly, an act punishable by three years’ imprisonment, and violating the ban on wearing a mask in public gatherings, which provides for up to one year in prison. Both were released on bail.
Outside the courthouse, protesters chanted slogans such as “wearing a face mask is not a crime” and “the law is unfair”. Many opponents of this ban fear that it is only the prelude to the adoption of new emergency measures by the authorities. “This is an excuse to introduce other totalitarian laws, the next will be martial law,” said AFP, a protester, Lo, in court.
Hong Kong has been shaken for four months by pro-democracy demonstrations increasingly violent. The protesters denounce Beijing’s growing control over the affairs of the semi-autonomous region and the actions of the police. The protest began in June against a bill to allow extradition to mainland China. The text was dropped in early September, too late in the eyes of protesters.
The Houston Rockets punished
Since October 1, the movement of anger has intensified. The worst clashes so far took place on October 1, as China celebrated its 70th anniversary: for the first time, a police officer fired a real bullet at an 18-year-old student, seriously wounding him.
Throughout the weekend, tens of thousands of Hong Kongese participated in spontaneous rallies or peaceful marches, wearing a face mask. On Sunday, police used tear gas to disperse protesters on Hong Kong Island. Scuffles have also erupted in many neighborhoods. A taxi driver was beaten to death in the Sham Shui Po neighborhood after hitting two protesters with his vehicle. A 14-year-old boy was injured by a plainclothes policeman during the demonstrations.
In Beijing Monday, indignation did not fall after a tweet in support of the Hong Kong protest movement posted by the manager of the Houston Rockets US basketball team. James Harden, the star basketball player, apologized on Monday, but the Chinese national channel CCTV has announced that it is suspending the broadcast of Houston Rockets games in the NBA.