Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing says he regrets protest comments were misrepresented

FILE PHOTO: Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, chairman of CK Hutchison Holdings, meets journalists as he formally retires after the company's Annual General Meeting in Hong Kong, China May 10, 2018. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing said on Friday he deeply regrets that recent comments he made regarding protests in the financial hub were misrepresented and reiterated that any actions that violate the rule of law cannot be tolerated.

Li’s statement came after China’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission published an article on social media accusing the tycoon of “harbouring criminality” after he called on the authorities to offer young people an olive branch amid anti-government protests that have roiled the city.

In his first speech mentioning the unrest, Li urged political leaders to offer young people an olive branch, calling them “masters of our future”, according to an online video of remarks to a small crowd during a monastery visit on Sunday.

Reporting By Noah Sin, Clare Jim and Farah Master, Writing by Anne Marie Roantree, editing by Nick Macfie