HK extradition Bill officially dead, but protests set to continue, Latest World News - The New Paper

HK extradition Bill officially dead, but protests set to continue

This article is more than 12 months old

Protesters say it makes no difference as the other four demands have not been met

HONG KONG: The legislature of Hong Kong yesterday formally withdrew the planned legislation that would have allowed extraditions to China, but the move was unlikely to end months of unrest as it met just one of five demands of pro-democracy protesters.

The rallying cry of the protesters, who have trashed public buildings in Hong Kong, set street fires and thrown petrol bombs at police, has been "five demands, not one less", meaning the withdrawal of the Bill makes no difference.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam had said many times the Bill was as good as dead and that the other demands, including universal suffrage and an amnesty for all those charged with rioting, were beyond her control.

"There aren't any big differences between suspension and withdrawal (of the extradition Bill)... It is too little, too late," said 27-year-old protester Connie, hours before the Bill was withdrawn.

"There are still other demands the government needs to meet, especially the problem of police brutality."

Most protesters do not give their full name to avoid being identified.

A murder suspect whose case Mrs Lam had originally held up as showing the need for the extradition Bill walked free yesterday as Hong Kong squabbled with Taiwan over how to handle his potential voluntary surrender to the authorities.

Chan Tong Kai, 20, a Hong Kong citizen, was accused of murdering his girlfriend in Taiwan last year before fleeing back to the financial hub.

Chan was arrested by Hong Kong police in March last year and the authorities there were able to find only evidence against him for money laundering, for which he was sentenced to 29 months in prison.


Chan has offered to voluntarily surrender himself to Taiwan, but both Hong Kong and Taiwan have clashed over the next steps.

"There is no such thing as surrender," Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen told reporters.

"There is only arrest... We will continue to ask for legal assistance from the Hong Kong government, including providing related evidence and to ask the Hong Kong government not to evade the matter."

China, which has many times expressed confidence in Mrs Lam and her government to end the unrest, was drawing up a plan to replace her with an "interim" chief executive, the Financial Times (FT) reported, citing people briefed on the deliberations.

The leading candidates to succeed Mrs Lam include Mr Norman Chan, former head of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, and Mr Henry Tang, who has served as the territory's financial secretary and chief secretary for administration, the report said.

A senior official in Beijing said the FT story was wrong and none of the suggested candidates listed in the report could possibly take over from Ms Lam based on the Basic Law, Hong Kong's mini-Constitution which came into force in 1997.

China's Foreign Ministry said the report was political rumour with ulterior motives. - REUTERS