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Surprise protest escalation frays Hong Kong financial nerves

Monday, September 29, 2014 - 01:51

From looking deflated just weeks ago, a civil disobedience campaign in Hong Kong has swiftly grown in size and impact, adding selling pressure to domestic assets. Reuters' Jon Gordon reports.

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Monday morning in one of the world's financial capitals, and it's not business as usual. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, JON GORDON, SAYING: "I'm Jon Gordon reporting for Reuters here in Hong Kong. We're in Causeway Bay - one of the main arteries of the city completely shut down. Just listen to this. People extremely upset about the authorities here in Hong Kong and also the authorities in Beijing as this protest scales up." Images from overnight that are shocking for many who live here - thick clouds of tear gas against a backdrop of some of the world's most pricey real estate. Tens of thousands of protesters, some just teenagers, facing off with police. Metal fences turned into makeshift barricades. And umbrellas - improvised shields against streams of pepper spray. The city's top administrator took to the airwaves in a late night plea. (SOUNDBITE) (Cantonese) HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE, LEUNG CHUN-YING, SAYING "I call upon citizens who are blocking the roads to retreat peacefully as soon as possible, so as not to affect the daily lives of the public. I also call upon the Occupy Central organizers to consider society's interests, and halt the Occupy Central movement." And while a few banks have shut down some operations in the city, the Hong Kong stock exchange - which vowed to stay open through any disruption - making good on that promise. Today the benchmark index testing a fresh 3-month intra-session low with the pain spread out among developers, retailers and financials. Hong Kong has the world's sixth largest stock market by capitalization and will soon play host to the next round of mainland Chinese market reforms. So this sudden kick off for the protest felt not just on the streets, but also in corporate boardrooms and hundreds of miles away in Beijing. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, JON GORDON, SAYING: "With two more public holidays coming up, we'll be looking to see how many more protesters are drawn here and how authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing do eventually react. " ENDS

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Surprise protest escalation frays Hong Kong financial nerves

Monday, September 29, 2014 - 01:51