HK leader Carrie Lam withdraws controversial extradition bill
HONG KONG (Agencies) — Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced on Wednesday she will formally withdraw the contentious extradition bill which sparked months of protests.
“The government will formally withdraw the bill in order to fully allay public concerns,” she said in a pre-recorded address.
Mrs Lam said a motion to withdraw will be tabled when the Legislative Council reconvenes. The decision is in response to one of the five demands put forth by the pro-democracy protesters.
But she stopped short of compromising on the four other demands which include the retraction of the word “riot” to describe rallies; the release of all arrested demonstrators; an independent inquiry into the police; and a universal suffrage for Hong Kongers.
She reiterated her offer to set up a platform for “people from all walks of life” to address the various social and economic issues facing Hong Kong.
She ruled out setting up an independent commission to probe alleged police brutality against demonstrators as demanded by the protesters. Instead, she said such investigation will be conducted by the Independent Police Complaints Commission which will be reinforced by two new members.
It was not immediately clear if killing the Bill would help end the protests.
Some lawmakers said the move should have come earlier, Reuters reported.
“The damage has been done. The scars and wounds are still bleeding,” said pro-democracy legislator Claudia Mo. “She thinks she can use a garden hose to put out a hill fire. That’s not going to be acceptable.”
“Too little, too late,” said Joshua Wong, a leader of the 2014 pro-democracy protests which were the precursor to the current unrest, on his Facebook page.