HK chief Carrie Lam expected to withdraw extradition bill

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HK Chief Executive Carrie Lam talks with then Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano (file photo)



Chief Executive Carrie Lam is expected to formally withdraw this afternoon (September 4) the much-criticized extradition bill that sparked the massive anti-government demonstrations since June, local media reported.

RTHK reported that Lam will meet with pro-government lawmakers and members of the National People’s Congress, the Chinese People’s Political Conference, and the Executive Council members at 4 p.m.

Citing sources, the South China Morning Post reported that the withdrawal of bill would be emphasized as a move to streamline the government’s legislative agenda since the Legislative Council (LegCo) is set to resume its session next month.

The complete withdrawal of the bill is one of the five key demands of protesters who have gone out to the streets of Hong Kong since June in their hundreds of thousands.

Due to the mass protests, deliberations on bill at the LegCo were suspended and Lam in July said the bill was “dead.”

However, the demonstrations have continued with protesters now calling for universal suffrage, an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, the release of arrested protesters, and the removal of the designation of the June 12 protest as a “riot.” The demonstrators have insisted that all their five demands should be addressed by the Hk government.

The mass protests have adversely affected the city’s economy, particularly its tourism sector with tourist arrivals down by 31 percent in early August.

One tour operator said group tours from Southeast Asia went down by up to 90 percent in late June while some hotels have reportedly told their staff to go on leave without pay.

With protesters smashing ticket machines, glass windows, and CCTV cameras in 32 MTR stations over the weekend, the Philippines on Monday joined other countries in telling its citizens to delay non-essential travel to Hong Kong.

The protesters are expected to again try to hold a demonstration near the airport on Saturday (September 7).