Hong Kong in recession as GDP plunges 3.2% in third quarter

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Hong Kong protesters are calling for people to mark Halloween by wearing masks depicting government officials or scary characters.

Protesters, many of whom still wear now-illegal face masks, are planning to march from Victoria Park in the Causeway Bay shopping district to the Lan Kwai Fong bar and entertainment area near Central.

Police have responded with tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, water cannon and sometimes live rounds.

Images of the vicious street battles amid clouds of tear gas are tarnishing the city's reputation as a safe and stable Asian metropolis.

Click https://tmsnrt.rs/2PwkTo2 to see an interactive graphic story that lays out this analysis and looks at the types of crowd control weapons used by the police and their guidelines on the use of force.

Halloween masks have not been banned, which would make it hard for police to differentiate protesters from the plethora of revellers in fancy dress.

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As widely expected, Hong Kong slid into recession for the first time since the global financial crisis in the third quarter, according to data released on Thursday, weighed down by the increasingly violent anti-government protests and the protracted U.S.

Compared to the previous year, the economy shrank 2.9% in the third quarter.

HSBC HOLDINGS Plc lowered its Hong Kong prime lending rate for the first time in 11 years, underscoring the economic challenges facing the financial hub.

In Kowloon, the protests in the Mong Kok area marked two months since police beat protesters on a subway train as they cowered on the floor, CCTV footage of which was widely shown online.

Earlier on Thursday, activists went to court to challenge the emergency law.

It was last used in 1967 by the British to help suppress Maoist-backed leftist riots that raged for almost a year and killed some 50 people.

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On Thursday evening China's Communist Party elite concluded a key meeting in Beijing with a promise to protect the "stability" of Hong Kong without giving concrete details.

Lam's use of the law was controversial because it bypassed the Legislative Council, the partially-elected chamber that approves Hong Kong's laws.

The protests were initially sparked by a now-abandoned plan to allow extraditions to the authoritarian mainland. Police fired tear gas in other neighbourhoods while protesters lobbed petrol bombs and bricks at the officers.

Lam said the International Monetary Fund revised global economic growth rate forecast for this year to the lowest since 2009 and combining with the uncertainty of Brexit in Britain and tense geopolitical situation in the Middle East, there is downward pressure on the global and Hong Kong economic growth trends.

Lam and Beijing have shown little appetite to meet protester demands, or to offer a political solution. Once that is achieved, the HKSAR government will work with relevant organizations to carry out promotional work and other measures to rebuild worldwide confidence in Hong Kong, she said.

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