Hong Kong’s leader quashed speculation on Tuesday that the government was looking to expand its emergency powers beyond a new mask ban, saying there were no immediate plans to do so and that it was too early to say whether the new law was effective. Four days after the mask ban went into effect over the weekend and sparked even more violent unrest, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor admitted that mobs of protesters had committed “limitless and lawless” acts over the past few days. Speaking before meeting her advisers at the Executive Council on Tuesday morning, Lam said: “We currently have no plans to invoke the Emergency Regulations Ordinance (ERO) again to make new laws.” Under the ERO, the chief executive has tough colonial-era powers to enact new laws in an emergency or in the face of public danger, without first passing them through the Legislative Council. Lam’s administration invoked those powers to impose a mask ban at public assemblies from 12.01am on Saturday in a bid to tackle protest violence, the first time the ordinance has been used in more than half a century. On Monday, executive councillor Ip Kwok-him said the administration would not rule out invoking the ordinance to impose an internet ban. Last week, Lam made clear the government would not impose foreign exchange restrictions but refused to say whether she planned to take other forms of action under the ERO, such as media censorship. Lam also said the administration was still gauging the effectiveness of the mask ban. “For any new ... legislation, it will take time for it to be effectively implemented,” Lam said on Tuesday. “If a piece of legislation has been enacted but the people refuse to abide by the law, then we have a problem at hand.” Lam added that she hoped the new ban would deter protesters, especially those who were underage. She noted the latest figures showed that one in 10 of those arrested on Sunday were under the age of 15. Hong Kong’s economy lost HK$2.8 billion in ‘golden week’, experts say The new law, which critics claimed was unconstitutional, sparked several days of violence and vandalism as mobs of protesters rampaged across the city, trashing MTR stations, government property and private businesses. Tens of thousands of Hongkongers took part in illegal marches, while groups of radicals vandalised banks and stores with mainland China links, as well as MTR stations, as they accused the city’s rail operator of helping police’s clearance operations. So far, at least 16 people have been charged under the mask ban , formally known as the Prohibition on Face Covering Regulation. Those who cover their faces during illegal or authorised protests face a fine of up to HK$25,000 and one year in jail. Hong Kong travel system in recovery mode after violent backlash to mask ban Asked whether the Hong Kong government was planning to seek help from Beijing to end the protests, Lam said: “If the situation becomes so bad, then no option can be ruled out, if we want Hong Kong to have another chance.” But she said the priority was for the city to tackle the crisis on its own. Over the weekend, Lam said protesters had caused destruction at MTR stations and certain shops, as well as attacked people who disagreed with them. “The violence has become limitless and lawless,” Lam said. Lam said people must not take the law into their own hands “no matter what conflict” had taken place beforehand. In Sham Shui Po on Sunday, a taxi rammed into black-clad protesters, injuring a woman. Angry masked groups then pulled the driver out and beat him unconscious. The government last week said reporters were exempt from the mask ban, if they were using gas masks at protests for safety reasons. Some police officers, however, removed gas masks worn by journalists on Sunday after tear gas was fired. Hong Kong students take anti-mask law protests back to school Lam said there would be “complications and misunderstandings” in enforcing the ban, but stressed that exemption was in place for journalists. Meanwhile, Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan, convener of the pro-democracy bloc, said the mask ban had only further angered the public but she called on people to exercise restraint. “If Lam is still sane and has a proper mind, she should understand that without positively responding to the demands, the situation won’t get better,” Chan said.