People's rights guarded under face mask law: govt - RTHK
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People's rights guarded under face mask law: govt

2019-10-22 HKT 15:40
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  • People's rights guarded under face mask law: govt
Undersecretary for Security Sonny Au told lawmakers on Tuesday that the government had taken the public's rights into account when imposing an anti-mask law and people stopped by police for checks will have the right to put their mask back on after their identity has been confirmed.

"We are targeting protests and congregations. The public in other areas of daily life, they can wear masks without restriction," he told a Legco committee vetting the anti-mask law bill.

"So even during a protest or a gathering if they have reasons such as their professional needs or religious needs, if they have pre-existing medical reasons or health reasons, they can use a face mask and other face covering material," said Au.

"We also empower the police to require the public to remove face masks. So after confirming the identity, the public can continue to wear the mask or face covering material," he said.

The official said a number of Western countries have enacted similar laws and the Hong Kong government will repeal this act when normalcy returns.

"I believe legislators would agree that we now have extreme violence in society and it is affecting the normal operation of Hong Kong. So I urge legislators to have a reasonable discussion and scrutiny of this regulation, to put an end to the chaos," he said.

The discussion had run into trouble earlier despite the committee managing to elect the DAB's Wong Ting-kwong as chairman and the New People's Party's Eunice Yung as his deputy without much problem.

But as discussions started, pan-dems started raising procedural questions and protests.

Talking later, the Democratic Party's Lam Cheuk-ting noted that lawmakers only have around a month's time to scrutinise the bill. He said there is little that his camp can do given the pro-government side's majority, but they will make good use of the time.