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Thu, 22 Aug 2019 13:34 - Updated Thu, 22 Aug 2019 13:34

Banks call for order in Hong Kong as jewelers warn of trade fair dud

HONG KONG - Hong Kong banks published full-page newspaper ads calling for law and order in the Chinese-ruled city and international jewelers sought the rescheduling of a huge trade fair as weeks of pro-democracy protests showed no sign of let-up on Thursday.

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Thousands held a scrappy anti-government protest on Wednesday at a suburban subway station where demonstrators were attacked by a mob of white-shirted men last month.

Protesters at the subway station were angry that nobody had yet been prosecuted for that violence. Police said they charged two men with rioting in connection with the July attack, who are to appear in court on Friday.

Wednesday’s standoff stopped short of recent intense clashes, including the storming of the legislature and occupation of the airport, with police refraining from using tear gas or attempting to storm protesters’ lines. Police said they arrested two men for unlawful assembly.

HSBC (HSBA.L), Standard Chartered (STAN.L) and Bank of East Asia (0023.HK) all urged the restoration of order in the former British colony, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

“Oppose violence, restore social order, safeguard Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center,” Standard Chartered said in its advertisement.

Trade representatives of the world’s largest diamond trading centers, from Antwerp, Mumbai and Ramat Gan, asked the organizer of the high-profile Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair to postpone the event, which typically draws more than 54,000 visitors.

In a letter, they told organizer Informa Markets that between 30% and 40% of exhibitors were demanding to pull out of the fair, due to be held in September at the Asia World Exposition center and the Wan Chai Convention and Exhibition center,REUTERS.

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