Hong Kong's leader confirmed on Tuesday his intention to pass tighter national security laws soon to build on sweeping legislation Beijing imposed on the city in 2020, saying the city "could not afford to wait."

Some business people, diplomats and academics are watching developments closely, saying the prospect of new laws targeting espionage, state secrets and foreign influence, known as Article 23, could have a deep impact on the global financial hub.

Chief Executive John Lee said the government will attempt to pass the laws "as soon as possible" but did not give a precise timetable for them to be approved by the city's legislature.