Chief Executive John Lee on Tuesday said officials have a responsibility to ensure that public gatherings are not hijacked or pose a risk to public order, safety and national security.
He was responding to a reporter's question, ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting, about a demonstration on Sunday against land reclamation in Tseung Kwan O, where some 80 participants had to wear individually numbered badges.
The badges, as demanded by police, stated the date and name of the march.
"We have to be careful that any public gathering will not be either hijacked or turned into troubles that will cause not just inconvenience, but risk to public order, public safety, and also national security," Lee said.
"We also have to respect the rights of other people who are not involved in the public gathering, whether it is a procession or whether it is a public meeting."
The CE declined to say whether badge-wearing would be mandatory for all demonstrations in future.
"After every action, the police will consider the whole process, and then they will come up with some good ideas about how things should proceed. This is a balancing act that the commissioner of police will do, and I trust that he will do well," Lee said.
"The commissioner of police will, as a result of each public gathering, look at what has happened, and then gather the experience, plan for future handling."