Hong Kong 'threatened with Chinese military intervention' as Xi grapples for control

Supporters of the two people who were charged packed the courtroom many wearing face coverings

Supporters of the two people who were charged packed the courtroom many wearing face coverings

Protesters held mall demonstrations in Hong Kong yesterday, ending in more vandalism and a stand-off with police on the streets.

Two people - a male university student and a 38-year-old woman - appeared in court on Monday charged with illegally wearing masks, and supporters wore their own face coverings in the courtroom.

The protests that started to oppose a now-withdrawn extradition bill and drew more than a million onto the streets, have grown into a pro-democracy movement against what is seen as Beijing's increasing grip on the city since it reverted to Chinese control in 1997.

Rallies deteriorated into running clashes with police firing tear gas and charging with batons to disperse protesters across the city.

Chinese state television, meanwhile, said it would not air NBA exhibition games played in the country this week, heaping pressure on the USA basketball league after a tweet by a Houston Rockets executive backing the Hong Kong protests.

Sunday's protest also drew a first warning from the Chinese military after some demonstrators pointed lasers at one of its barracks in Hong Kong. But if the situation becomes so bad, then no options could be ruled out, if we want Hong Kong to, at least, have another chance.

"For the first six days of October, during the so-called Golden Week holiday, the numbers visiting Hong Kong plunged more than 50 per cent", she said.

China dismisses such accusations, saying foreign governments, including Britain and the U.S., have fanned anti-China sentiment.

Lam claims the face mask ban is needed to stop violence but critics say it is a unsafe assault on civil rights that has only spurred fresh outrage and protests.

US President Donald Trump on Monday urged a "humane solution" in Hong Kong but noted that the crowds protesting against Chinese authorities were smaller than before.

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Chinese state television said it would not air National Basketball Association exhibition games played in the country this week after a tweet by a Houston Rockets executive backing the protests.

US officials have repeatedly voiced concerns about any Chinese military intervention in Hong Kong.

A total of 77 people arrested over the weekend for rioting or unlawful assembly were also being additionally charged with breaching the anti-mask law, which carries a one-year prison term and a fine of HK$25,000 ($3,200), according to the police.

"With the help from all sectors of the society, we will be able to deal with it by ourselves", Kwok said while addressing questions over police's cooperation with the People's Liberation Army. Suki, the owner of a Japanese restaurant rated blue looked visibly shocked when told about the App, where an anonymous user had accused her of "condemning young people for destroying Hong Kong".

Yesterday, as schools and offices reopened after a public holiday weekend, rail operator MTR Corporation restarted operations at most of its 93-station network, but said it would shut earlier at 8pm to facilitate fix works.

ATMs, Chinese banks and scores of shops were vandalised during protests over the long weekend.

The metro system was shut down in an unprecedented move on Friday night after protesters set stations on fire and attacked ticket machines.

When asked by a reporter about an incident over the weekend when police forcibly removed journalists' facial masks, Lam said that her government would continue to study how to strike a balance between law enforcement and safeguarding the rights of certain professions exempt from the law.

On Friday, Hong Kong Leader Carrie Lam announced an immediate city-wide ban on protesters wearing face masks. She did not elaborate.

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