Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said in his blog that the government is sincere in working with the public to seek solutions to deep-seated problems through rational dialogues. But he emphasized that such efforts were not a compromise to violence and the top priority for the society is to stop violence and end the chaos.
Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said the lasting and escalating violence has dealt a heavy blow to the city's economy, with tourism, retail and hotel sectors bearing the brunt. Constructive dialogues are what the city needs in order to move forward, he said.
Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong expressed hope in his blog that people of different political backgrounds would set aside differences and mend the rift that has been widened by the monthslong unrest.
The officials' calls were in line with the four initiatives announced on Wednesday by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, which include a formal withdrawal of the extradition bill and engaging in direct talks with people, irrespective of their political stance and social status.
Despite the government's earnest calls, violence erupted again as gangs of black-clad rioters provoked violent clashes with the city's police force and vandalized metro stations, forcing the rail operator to shut down part of its services.
The past weekend was the 14th in which Hong Kong endured violence and chaos.
On Sunday, the city's business center of Central on Hong Kong Island became a battlefield with masked rioters starting fires at multiple locations, making traffic flow impossible in the area.
The mobs also wrecked the Central metro station, smashing windows, spraying offensive graffiti on its exterior and blocking its exits with piles of trash. Metro service at Central Station was forced to shut down.
The violence came after masked protesters marched from a permitted rally at the Charter Garden in Central to the U.S. consulate.
On Saturday, crowds of radicals gathered in Tung Chung Station, smashing facilities inside, while some assaulted police officers inside a Sha Tin mall and others started fires, attacked the police station and blocked roads in Mong Kok.
The MTR Corp, operator of Hong Kong's railway system, issued an open letter on Sunday, saying the MTR was facing its most serious challenge in its 40 years of operation. It urged people from all walks of life to cherish and protect the railway network, since it has been part of the collective memory of Hong Kong people for decades.