Many sources reveal that the government will invoke a British colonial-era law for the first time in half a century to ban people from wearing masks at protests. Carrie Lam will invoke the Emergency Laws after the Executive Council meeting this morning at the government headquarters. It is reported that the authorities will implement the “Anti-mask Law” under the pretext of conflicts and escalation of violence in more than 11 districts. The law will prohibit citizens from wearing mask at illegal gatherings or violent demonstrations. The law will provide some exemptions but it is not known whether police officers can continue to wear mask.
Denis Kwok Wing-hang, legislator of Civic Party, strongly opposes the government’s “Anti-Mask Law” under the “Emergency Law”. It is believed that the activation of the “Emergency Law” gives the Chief Executive and Executive Council almost absolute power to enact any law without the review function of the Legislative Council. The administration may even use the Emergency Law to prohibit demonstrations, disable the Internet, and cancel the district elections at the end of next month. It can be seen that “the Emergency Law is the Pandora’s box. Once opened, further evil will inevitably come.” Kowk believes that the implementation of the Anti-mask Law will not reduce the number of people on the streets, but will intensify divisions in the society. He believes that some people will submit a judicial review on the Anti-mask Law because there is no law in Hong Kong which can violate the Basic Law.
Kwok also pointed out that the SAR Government had stated in a document to the United Nations in November 1999 that if the “Emergency Law” were cited, it would be submitted to the Legislative Council. He asked Carrie Lam whether she still complied with this commitment. According to the document, the Hong Kong Government means that the regulations enacted by the Emergency Law are subject to Article 39 of the Basic Law, and the relevant laws and regulations are subsidiary legislation and are subject to review by the Legislative Council.
Netizens launched a march in the Chater Garden in Central at 12:30 today to protest the Anti-mask Law and marched towards Central. Protesters flooded the Chater Garden and the adjacent streets in Central.