Hong Kong officially withdraws extradition bill

ANKARA — After months of being hit by protests, the government in Hong Kong officially withdrew the extradition bill as the session of Legislative Council resumed on Wednesday, local media reported.

Earlier this month, Carrie Lam had announced the withdrawal of the bill, which sought to legalize extradition from Hong Kong to countries — including mainland China — triggering unrelenting protests.

As the session resumed on Wednesday, Hong Kong Secretary for Security John Lee announced that the bill was withdrawn, Hong Kong Free Press reported.

Legislators asked Lee whether he would step down from his position. He sidestepped the question.

Hong Kong, an autonomous region under China since 1998, is witnessing protests since early June, against the Lam administration’s move to legalize extradition to mainland China.

Even after the bill was officially dumped, the protests continued unabated.

Lam invoked a colonial-era Emergency Regulations Ordinance in October, the first time in over 50 years, imposing a ban on wearing face masks, to curb unrelenting protests in the region.

Murder suspect released

Meanwhile, murder suspect Chan Tong-kai, whose case prompted months of demonstrations in Hong Kong, was released from jail on Wednesday.

He spent 18 months at the Pik Uk Correctional Institution on money-laundering charges, South China Morning Post reported.

He is also wanted for the murder of his pregnant girlfriend in Taiwan.

“I am willing, for my impulsive act and things I did wrong, to surrender myself to Taiwan to face sentencing,” Chan told media, describing the murder as his “worst mistake” that could not be reversed.

“I hope this can make her family feel slightly relieved, and [the deceased girlfriend Poon Hiu-wing] can rest in peace,” he added.

Taiwanese authorities wanted to send their law enforcement agents to Hong Kong to take Chan’s custody, drawing criticism from the Lam government saying the suggestion was “a disrespect of Hong Kong’s jurisdictional power”.

Chan’s case triggered a massive crisis in Hong Kong after it tried to pass the extradition bill saying that his case had exposed loopholes in extradition of suspects to other countries.

Hong Kong has an extradition treaty with 20 countries including the US, Canada, and New Zealand. (Anadolu)