Economy

Hong Kong: Lam to withdraw extradition bill, say reports

Hong Kong: Lam to withdraw extradition bill, say reports”

Hong Kong's government was scheduled to meet Wednesday afternoon amid speculation that leader Carrie Lam may formally withdraw an extradition bill as protesters have demanded.

The South China Morning Post newspaper cited an unidentified government source as saying the bill would be withdrawn before the city's legislature resumes in October.

The protests that have been on in Hong Kong in full swing since in mid-June were sparked by widespread opposition to a now-shelved extradition bill which would have allowed extradition to mainland China.

The chief executive's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The formal withdrawal of the bill is one of the major demands of pro-democracy protesters who have demonstrated against the government for nearly three months.

The boycott comes as leading Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Ivan Lam and Michael Mo, an organiser of an unauthorised public gathering in July, were arrested by police yesterday morning.

Reuters revealed in an exclusive report on Monday that Ms Lam told business leaders last week she had caused "unforgivable havoc" by introducing the bill and that if she had a choice she would apologise and resign, according to a leaked audio recording. Without the bill's formal withdrawal, it could be reintroduced in a matter of days. Protesters have settled on a list of five demands, among them universal suffrage for Hong Kong's leaders and an investigation into the crisis including the police's response over the past three months.

The prolonged protests have hurt Hong Kong's economy amid a slowdown in the Chinese economy and its trade war with the United States.

Riot police cleared demonstrators from outside the Mong Kok police station and in Prince Edward metro station, with one person taken out on a stretcher with an oxygen mask over his face, government-funded RTHK reported.

The Basic Law provides people in Hong Kong more political freedoms than their counterparts in mainland China.

The mostly young protesters say that a degree of violence is necessary to get the government's attention after peaceful rallies were futile.

Beijing denies it is meddling in Hong Kong's affairs but warned again on Tuesday that it would not sit idly by if the unrest threatened Chinese security and sovereignty.

"I think Carrie Lam doesn't have much power", said a 21-year-old engineering student at Hong Kong University who wanted to be known only as Poon.



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