The Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor says the business community is concerned about the long-term consequences of continuing protests, while also refusing to make political concessions to protesters.
She spoke today in the company of several business leaders and policy secretaries, the Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po and Commerce Secretary Edward Yau Tang-wah.
The embattled leader said that the downward economic pressure had hit Hong Kong like a "tsunami.''
The economic downturn is more severe than the SARS epidemic and financial crisis, she said, pleading with the protesters to halt the violence. She appealed to the public "not to continue with these kinds of destructive act with unspecified time and location, blocking roads, and blocking important transport and other important public facilities.''
She refused to yield to protester demands.
“As far as a political solution is concerned, I don't think we should just sort of make concessions in order to silence the violent protesters," she said.
As she spoke, hundreds of youths staged a sit-in at Hong Kong International Airport for a second Friday today. City-wide protests are continuing for a third month. More are planned this weekend.
Lam said that a small minority was "destroying'' the economy, adding that they have no stake in the society "which so many people have helped to build.''
Once again, Lam rejected an independed inquiry into protests and a police excesses.
Lam met earlier with 33 business representatives including banking, retail and finance.
Lam also said the Executive Council will resume meetings on Tuesday, instead of August 27.