The league of Hong Kong's real estate developers has again condemned anti-government protesters, accusing them of worsening the city's economic slump and eroding its core values.
The second statement by the Real Estate Developers Association (Reda) on Tuesday came a day after Beijing called the escalating violence "signs of terrorism".
"The Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong strongly condemns the escalating violent behaviour and vandalisation. These are eroding the city's core values and worsening its economic downturn while threatening the safety of the general public," read the statement that was signed by 41 developers, including all the major players and Chinese Estates Holdings, which did not join the first call for peace made by 16 firms.
"We urge everyone to actively communicate in a rational and accommodating manner and find a way out together. We also hope the government can speed up in driving economic growth and resolving long-term problems, including housing shortage, to improve citizens' livelihood, create a flourishing economy and benefit all Hongkongers."
Joseph Lau Luen-hung, the boss of Chinese Estates Holdings, who is wanted by Macau for bribery convictions, earlier sought a legal challenge against the extradition bill and later withdrew it.
Last week, Reda made its first statement after Zhang Xiaoming, director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, denounced the protests as bearing the "obvious characteristics of a colour revolution" on Wednesday and urged about 500 political and business leaders, who met him in Shenzhen in mainland China, to fearlessly safeguard the city's rule of law.
On Tuesday, Reda also vowed to work with the government to resolve "deep-seated" social problems.
Sun Hung Kai Properties, the city's largest developer, also published a statement urging the protesters to stop violence and join in a dialogue, while claiming the two-month-long demonstrations had hit the tourism, food and beverage, retail and hotel industries.
"The protesters' violent behaviour and challenge to the rule of law have damaged Hong Kong's economy and seriously affected people's lives. We urge them to stop all violence and return to rationality. Hong Kong can find a way out only through communication and dialogue," the developer wrote in a statement on Tuesday.
Sun Hung Kai Properties came into focus during the protests as its premises - including Yoho Mall in Yuen Long and New Town Plaza in Sha Tin - turned into war zones on two occasions.
It was the second call from a developer for peace after former chairman of Wheelock and Wharf (Holdings) Peter Woo Kwong-ching issued a personal statement on Sunday night urging the protesters to stop the violence.
Woo argued that the protesters, who had already achieved their original aim of blocking the extradition bill, were derailing the movement while fighting for other changes, such as political reform, which went beyond the ambit of the Basic Law, the city's mini-constitution.
The now-abandoned bill would have allowed Hong Kong to transfer suspects to jurisdictions with which it did not have an agreement, including the mainland.
In a statement issued on Tuesday evening, Henderson Land Development also expressed support for Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and police, and urged protesters not to "bring Hong Kong to a point of no return".
Last Friday, Lam blamed the protesters for contributing to an economic slump, describing the present market condition as more serious than the downturn caused by the Sars outbreak in 2003.
The value of total retail sales dropped by 6.7 per cent in June this year compared with the same month last year, but this happened even before the protests erupted. This year's downturn began in February, when the Census and Statistics Department witnessed a 10.2 per cent decrease in retail sales.
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