HONG KONG – Following a day of violence in which one person was shot by police and another set on fire, Hong Kong's leader pledged Monday to "spare no effort" to halt anti-government protests that have wracked the city for more than five months.
The comments by Carrie Lam are likely to fuel speculation that harsher legal and police measures may be in the works.
"I do not want to go into details, but I just want to make it very clear that we will spare no effort in finding ways and means that could end the violence in Hong Kong as soon as possible," Lam told reporters.
She also refused to accept the protesters' demands for political concessions. "If there is still any wishful thinking that, by escalating violence, the Hong Kong SAR government will yield to pressure to satisfy the so-called political demands, I am making this statement clear and loud here: That will not happen," Lam said, using the initials for Special Administrative Region, which describes the city's status as a semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
Following Lam's comments, confrontations between protesters and police continued into the night, with black-clad demonstrators torching at least one vehicle and blocking an intersection in the Mongkok district that has been the scene of many clashes. A taxi driver was taken away by ambulance with head wounds.
The violence is likely to further inflame passions. Hong Kong has district council elections on Nov. 24 that are seen as a measure of public sentiment toward the government.