Foreign

Hong Kong mask ban temporarily returns as court reviews law

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Hong Kong’s High Court on Friday said it would extend the law banning masks at demonstrations for seven days.

A local media reported that the law is being reviewed under appeal following a surprise interjection from Beijing earlier this week.

The ban was enacted by Hong Kong leader, Carrie Lam, in October after she controversially invoked emergency powers from a colonial-era law in an attempt to stop mass demonstrations.

Under the ban, the Police have the right to ask protesters to remove their masks, which have become a common accessory at protests, or face up to one year in prison and a fine of up to 25,000 Hong Kong dollars ($3,187).

On Monday, the High Court ruled that the ban was unconstitutional under Hong Kong’s Basic Law, its mini-constitution, only for Beijing’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) to thwart their decision.

In a rare move, the NPCSC said on Tuesday it was the only body that could decide constitutional matters in the former British colony, prompting a backlash from the Hong Kong legal community.

While Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 it was promised semi-autonomy until 2047.

Concerns about that autonomy and fears over Beijing’s interference have fuelled mass demonstrations since June after the government attempted to push through a law that would have allowed residents to stand trial in mainland China.

Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed/Abdulfatah Babatunde
(NAN)

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