Hong Kong budget offers relief to protest-hit businesses

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s finance chief has unveiled measures aimed at giving relief to some business owners and restoring confidence in the Asian financial hub following pro-democracy protests last year that choked traffic for 11 weeks.

In his annual budget speech Wednesday, Financial Secretary John Tsang announced $37 million in short-term relief measures.

He said the government would waive fees for travel agencies, hotels, restaurants and bus and taxi operators for half a year.

About a third of the amount budgeted would be set aside for events to promote Hong Kong globally.

Protesters in this southern Chinese financial hub occupied streets in three districts for 79 days last year to demand greater electoral freedom in the planned inaugural 2017 vote for the city’s top leader.

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