Have mercy in dealing with unrest, Li Ka Shing urges Hong Kong government

HONG KONG • Hong Kong's richest man has urged the government to "have mercy" in dealing with the unrest that has rocked the city, describing recent months of protests as Hong Kong's worst crisis since World War II.

Mr Li Ka Shing, whose conglomerate is among Hong Kong's most dominant business empires, on Sunday called for reconciliation between the government and protesters as another weekend of demonstrations turned violent.

"If it continues, it will be very bad, and I am concerned," the 91-year-old said during an event at Tsz Shan Monastery in Hong Kong. "We hope young people can consider the big picture and government leaders can also have mercy on the masters of our future."

A spokesman for CK Hutchison Holdings, Mr Li's flagship ports-to-telecoms conglomerate, confirmed his remarks.

On Sunday, small pockets of demonstrators started fires, vandalised subway stations and set up barricades after tens of thousands marched peacefully to the United States consulate.

In newspaper advertisements last month, Mr Li called for an end to the violence in a poetic message that some interpreted as calling for those in power to stop persecution, while others said it was meant to urge protesters to stop disrupting the city.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2019, with the headline 'Have mercy in dealing with unrest, Li Ka Shing urges HK govt'. Print Edition | Subscribe