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Hong Kong's stability, safety marred by prolonged violent protests

Xinhua | Published: August 29, 2019 17:05:46 | Updated: August 30, 2019 16:39:54


Radical protesters attack police officers in Tsuen Wan, in the western New Territories of south China's Hong Kong, Aug 25, 2019. - Xinhua

A small television shop in Kwun Tong of China's Hong Kong has few customers, but the news programmes  on the screens kept attracting the attention of passersby.

A few elderly residents frowned at the video of black-clothed violent protesters felling a smart lamppost.

"It is so hard to imagine that this type of destruction happened in Hong Kong. I'm old, but these people are young. If Hong Kong continues to fester in violence, what good does it bring to them?" asked a silver-haired man who gave his surname as Tsang.

Since June, violent protests have negatively impacted industries in Hong Kong and undermined the public sense of security and confidence in the future.

Police officers have been busy handling violent protests, leaving little time to respond to other emergencies.

"Now when we report a certain emergency to police, their response is slow because they have to handle all these protests," said Tsang.

By Aug. 28, 31 countries and regions have issued travel warnings to Hong Kong. According to the Safe Cities Index 2019, released by The Economist on Thursday, Hong Kong dropped to the 20th after ranking the ninth in 2017.

According to the figures provided by the Hong Kong police authorities, they handled 54,225 crimes in 2018, down 3.2 per cent from 2017, the lowest since 1974. However, since June, violent incidents have erupted frequently. Officers were attacked and about 180 of them have been injured.

Many worry that the prolonged violence could further destabilise the development of Hong Kong.

Violent acts like smashing the smart lampposts undermined Hong Kong's efforts to build a smart and safe city, said Hung Kam-in, vice chairman of the Kwun Tong District Council.

"The impact of these protests is not only closing a few shops, but also has exacerbated a confrontational mindset that will hurt Hong Kong in the long run," he said.

"Repelling advanced technology will profoundly shake Hong Kong's status as an international metropolitan," he said.

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