Hong Kong extradition law: Carrie Lam set to give personal apology for mishandling of fugitive bill

Hong Kong extradition law: Carrie Lam set to give personal apology for mishandling of fugitive bill

The Chief Executive is under pressure from protesters to withdraw the extradition bill completely, with many calling on her to step down

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Lam is set to speak to the public this afternoon.
Photo: SCMP/K.Y. Cheng

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is due to offer a second apology to Hong Kong people this afternoon - and this time in person.

A source told SCMP that Lam was likely to give a personal apology on Tuesday for her mishandling of a contraversial extradition bill, but that she was unlikely to accept demands to scrap the law completely.

The bill would allow the transfer of fugitives to jurisdictions with which Hong Kong lacks an extradition deal. Concerns have been expressed about the possibility of Beijing using the bill to transfer people from Hong Kong into the mainland.

She was also expected to address public concerns over the designation of last Wednesday’s violent clashes as a “riot”, sticking to the police commissioner’s clarification that most of the protesters were not involved in violent attacks on frontline police.

“It will take a long time for Lam to rebuild her connections with society. It can be done, but it will take time,” the source said.

Sources said Executive Council convenor Bernard Chan was asked to advise Lam to make a formal apology to the public and work with the cabinet to help Lam come up with the best way to show her sincerity. 

Protests outside the government headquarters and the legislature died down on Tuesday morning, a day after cabinet members appealed to the public to give Lam a second chance and made it clear that the suspension of the bill was equivalent to a withdrawal.

Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung also backed down on his earlier categorisation of last Wednesday’s clashes between his officers and anti-extradition protesters as a riot. He said only five people had been arrested for rioting so far.
 
Tens of thousands of protesters joining four Telegram chat groups issued a joint statement on Tuesday morning, demanding Lam and her government respond to their demands by 5pm on Thursday.
 
In the statement circulated on the encrypted messaging platform, where 75,000 public members shared information about the anti-extradition bill protests, they listed five demands after carrying out a poll among themselves.

 

They called for the bill to be scrapped, prosecution of the protesters waived, police to be investigated for using excessive force, the riot label to be fully withdrawn, and Lam to step down.

The extradition bill, now suspended, would have allowed Hong Kong to surrender criminal suspects on a case-by-case basis to more than 170 jurisdictions it has yet to strike a long-term extradition agreement with, including mainland China.


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