Hong Kong extradition law: Carrie Lam calls 4am press conference following chaos at Legco on July 1

Hong Kong extradition law: Carrie Lam calls 4am press conference following chaos at Legco on July 1

The Chief Executive was "outraged and distressed" by the scenes at the Legislative Council last night after protesters stormed the complex

Following the takeover of the Legislative Council building last night by mostly young protesters, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said at a 4am press conference today. She condemned the violence, and vowed to go after those who trashed the building and fled before riot police moved in.

Lam said she was angry and saddened by the violence and chaos. “I am very outraged and distressed and I strongly condemn it,” she said.

Lam said she had reflected on the unprecedented events on the July 1 anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule, and was willing to communicate with all sectors including the city’s youth.

“We have seen two entirely different public scenes. One is a regular march on July 1. Regardless of the number of participants in the march, the march was peaceful and generally orderly. This fully reflects the inclusiveness of Hong Kong society, and the core values we attach to peace and order,” Lam said at police headquarters.

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“The second scene, which really saddens and shocks a lot of people, is the extreme use of violence and vandalism by protesters who stormed into the Legislative Council building. This is something that we should seriously condemn, because nothing is more important than the rule of law in Hong Kong.”

 

She said the government would “pursue the lawbreaking behaviour to the end”.

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Lam, who was joined by her No 2, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu, and Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung, said she hoped the community at large agreed the violent acts should be condemned, and society would return to normal as soon as possible.

For several hours on Monday, the Legislative Council building in Admiralty witnessed an assault unprecedented in size and intensity, as hundreds of mostly young protesters demanding the complete withdrawal of the government’s now-suspended extradition bill attacked the glass front with makeshift battering rams.
 
Riot police stood by inside the building throughout the day while the crowd went on the rampage outside, and were nowhere to be seen when the protesters finally forced their way inside at night and vandalised the chamber.
 

 

Lam said it was not true that the government had not responded to the demands of those protesting against the bill, which would have allowed the transfer of suspects to jurisdictions with which Hong Kong did not have an extradition agreement, including mainland China.

“We have not responded to every demand because of good reasons,” she said.

“The bill will expire, or the bill will die, in July 2020 when the current Legco term expires. That is a very positive response to the demands we have heard.”

Lee said the protesters who stormed the building had broken several laws, including forcible entry under the Public Order Ordinance, possession of offensive weapons and possession of instruments fit for unlawful purposes under the Crimes Ordinance, and unauthorised entry under the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance.

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