Hong Kong pledges $51 million for businesses hit by pro-democracy protests

A protester waving a colonial Hong Kong flag during a demonstration inside a shopping mall in Hong Kong on Feb 15, 2015. The city has pledged HK$290 million (S$50.74 million) to help businesses hit by more than two months of pro-democracy protests. -
A protester waving a colonial Hong Kong flag during a demonstration inside a shopping mall in Hong Kong on Feb 15, 2015. The city has pledged HK$290 million (S$50.74 million) to help businesses hit by more than two months of pro-democracy protests. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Hong Kong announced measures totalling HK$290 million (S$50.74 million) on Wednesday to help businesses hit by more than two months of pro-democracy protests as the government seeks to rebuild confidence in the Asia financial centre.

Financial Secretary John Tsang, speaking in his budget address, said the measures included waiving licence fees for 26,000 restaurants and other food outlet operators, and running events to promote Hong Kong to investors and tourists.

The government has warned that the Chinese-controlled city must make economic stability a top priority after the Occupy Central demonstrations to demand free elections paralysed parts of Hong Kong and unnerved the authorities in Beijing.