Hong Kong legislature officially kills controversial extradition bill

Hong Kong legislature officially kills controversial extradition bill

Hong Kong officials announced on Wednesday that the controversial extradition bill - which would have given the Hong Kong government authority to extradite Hong Kong individuals back to mainland communsit China - has been withdrawn from consideration.

Protesters have been pinning their hope on the Hong Kong Human Rights & Democracy Act, a U.S. bill that calls for elections for the full legislature by 2020 with no mention of chief executive, which is chosen by a 1,200-member committee of mostly pro-Beijing loyalists.

He was released from a maximum security prison Wednesday after spending 18 months in custody after convictions on money laundering charges related to cash and valuables he took from his girlfriend before fleeing to Hong Kong.

Hong Konger Chan Tong-kai, 20, is wanted in Taiwan for the 2018 murder of his pregnant girlfriend Poon Hiu-wing.

The bill was seen as the latest move by Beijing to erode those freedoms.

And so the protests started in June, and violent clashes ensued between protesters and police. And the demands morphed into something much bigger than this piece of legislation.

The bill was first introduced in April and allowed for criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China.

The city has seen the worst unrest since the city's handover from Britain, as the movement sparked by opposition to the extraction bill seeks greater democracy and police accountability. But activist Leung Kwok Hung told VOA that it's not enough. "The five demands from the Hong Kong people should be dealt with".

Carrie Lam, the embattled Hong Kong leader, has insisted that other demands by protesters are outside her control.

Hundreds of protesters gathered peacefully outside the British Consulate, waving British flags, chanting "stand with Hong Kong" and calling for support for a British parliamentary debate on the citizenship status of Hong Kong people scheduled for Thursday.

"It is not important", he said.

If President Xi Jinping decides to go ahead with the plan to remove Lam, the report said her replacement would be installed by March.

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council said allowing a murder suspect to fly on his own would ignore the safety of other passengers and that Hong Kong's approach would indulge Chan and make Hong Kong "a criminal paradise where murderers can walk around". They have refused, arguing that Taiwanese authorities have jurisdiction.

The Hong Kong government had said the legal loophole needed to be closed to uphold justice and align the city's laws with global standards. "This leads to its own fellow victimized citizen failing to receive justice. If this happened in another country, and the Hong Kong government adopted this attitude, every country's government would feel bothered".

The release of the suspect Wednesday after serving a sentence for a separate offense and the legal tussle between Hong Kong and Taipei over his fate underscore deep political divisions between Taiwan's freewheeling democracy and independent judiciary and China's tightly controlled, authoritarian one-party system. He stopped by the cameras, bowed deeply and said, softly, "to the society, and to Hongkongers, I can only say sorry".

If Hong Kong wants to engage in mutual judicial assistance, it should subject Chan to questioning and supply Taiwan's judiciary with any records or evidence it has collected, the premier said, adding that Taiwan's judiciary would then try Chan based on that information.

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