0750 GMT November 22, 2019
Lam said Beijing wanted Hong Kong to solve its own problems, but under its mini-constitution, known as the Basic Law, Hong Kong could ask Beijing for help, Reuters reported.
“If the situation becomes so bad, then no options could be ruled out, if we want Hong Kong to at least have another chance,” Lam said at weekly news conference after a long weekend of violence crippled the city.
“But at this moment, I and my team, we are still very committed in making sure we can use our own instruments ... to try and restore calm and order in Hong Kong,” she said, adding there were no plans to expand emergency laws introduced on Friday. “But I would appeal (to) everyone in society to join hands to achieve this objective.”
The protests, which show no sign of abating, pose the biggest popular challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012 and are Hong Kong’s thorniest political crisis since Britain returned it to China in 1997.
Lam said protests were severely damaging the economy.
“Hong Kong’s various sectors will enter a severe winter season,” she said.
Tens of thousands of protesters, many families with children, took to the streets of Hong Kong over the weekend wearing face masks in defiance of colonial-era emergency laws invoked on Friday which ban masks at public rallies. Protesters use masks to shield their identities.
But the rallies, which started out peaceful, spiraled into some of the most violent clashes since protests started four months ago, forcing the unprecedented shutdown of the city’s metro after stations were torched.
Police said on Tuesday 77 people had been arrested for violating the anti-mask law.
On Tuesday, hundreds of school and university students attended class wearing masks in protest at the emergency law.
Since Friday, more than 200 shops and public utilities had been damaged and police fired 367 tear gas rounds, said a police spokesman.