Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam's late-night meeting was 'nothing special', says city's No. 2 official

A photo taken on Nov 11 shows Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam during a press conference in Hong Kong. PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - A gathering held by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Wednesday (Nov 13) night with senior officials was a regular meeting and did not have a specific purpose, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung said on Thursday.

Mr Cheung said Mrs Lam's meeting with her advisers and government ministers was held later than usual, as everyone had busy schedules. He said that it was an ordinary meeting to discuss how to strengthen coordination, according to public broadcaster RTHK.

The comment by the city's No. 2 official was in response to a question from a lawmaker at the legislature.

Local media reports have speculated that the government discussed new contingency measures - including curfew - during the meeting, amid the escalating violence.

Meanwhile, Mr Cheung said that Hong Kong has supplemented its police force with about 100 officers from the Hong Kong Correctional Services Department to serve as "special police" on a voluntary basis.

The move will help relieve the burden on Hong Kong's regular force, which has been dealing with mass protests and intense clashes with protesters, Mr Cheung said in a Legislative Council meeting.

Hong Kong has been mired in protests that have been raging for five months, with demonstrators demanding for several things, including an inquiry into alleged police brutality, as well as universal suffrage.

The demonstrations intensified after a police officer shot at masked protesters on Monday morning, hitting at least one in the torso.

Anti-government sentiments intensified after an undergraduate died of injuries last Friday. He was reported to have fallen from height at a multi-storey carpark in Tseung Kwan O while police were conducting dispersal operations nearby.

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