Executive councillor Ronny Tong has expressed doubt on whether an anti-mask law will be able to do much to cool the current crisis in Hong Kong.

He said it may be better to wait and see what comes out of the dialogue sessions between the government and the public before making a decision.

Reacting to renewed calls from pro-government politicians for an anti-mask law to stop protesters from concealing their identities, Tong said such a move would not be as simple as it seems.

The barrister said there is a wide spectrum to be considered about the implementation of such a law, from enabling law enforcement officers to request the removal of the masks, to ten years imprisonment as per Canadian law. “So exactly what kind of anti-mask law do we need?” he asked.

“There is also the issue of enforcement,” he said. “You need to consider if the prohibition applies to illegal assemblies or applies to lawful assemblies. Now if it does apply to lawful assembly, and if there are tens of thousands of people attending the lawful assembly but wearing masks, do you arrest them all, or what do you do?”

Tong said the law can be brought in quickly under emergency laws, although he is against invoking that provision.

But the executive councillor told RTHK’s Janice Wong that he sees very little chance of an anti-mask law passing through Legco in the current political atmosphere.