Two pro-democracy lawmakers warned on Wednesday that if the Carrie Lam administration invokes colonial era emergency powers, it will permanently damage Hong Kong and spur the United States to pass sanctions against officials here and in Beijing.

Professionals Guild lawmaker Charles Mok said invoking the Emergency Regulations Ordinance (ERO) would cause irreparable damage to Hong Kong as an international financial centre.

“This is not a joke. This is very, very serious. The government permanently damaging Hong Kong’s advantage and core values is unacceptable,” said Mok.

He said both local and overseas companies are worried about the possibility of emergency laws. Businesses from the region, such as Singapore, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur, are looking to cash in, if foreign firms decide to ditch Hong Kong as their base.

Alvin Yeung, who had recently toured the US and held talks on Hong Kong with politicians there, said if the ERO is invoked, Lam would effectively become a monarch.

Yeung also said if these sweeping powers are invoked, Washington would quickly pass sanctions against leaders here and in Beijing.

The Civic Party said it plans to meet the consuls of the G7 countries as well as those from the European Union and Australia to discuss concerns about the possible move by the SAR government.