Hong Kong Chief Executive suspends proposal to amend fugitive bill

World Today

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie LamHong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks during a press conference at the government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 15, 2019. (Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP)

Hong Kong is suspending an effort to amend its fugitives law. The decision follows protests over the proposal.  It would allow Hong Kong to send fugitives to places where it has no extradition agreement, including the Chinese Mainland, Taiwan and Macao.

At a press conference on Saturday, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the suspension of the fugitive bill amendment.

CGTN’s Zhu Dan reports.

“After repeated internal deliberations over the last two days, I now announce that the government has decided to suspend the legislative amendment exercise, restart our communication with all sectors of society, do more explanation work and listen to different views of society. I want to stress that the government is adopting an open mind to heed comprehensively different views in society towards the bill. We have no intention to set a deadline for this work and promise to report to and consult members of the Legislative Council Panel on Security before we decide on the next step forward.”

Lam said the government won’t set a new time frame for its reintroduction.

“We have no intention to set a deadline for this work and promise to report to and consult members of the Legislative Council Panel on Security before we decide on the next step forward.”

She also said that they had introduced amendments to the proposal on two occasions in the past few months.

The bill was proposed by the Hong Kong government in February to allow the transfer of fugitives to jurisdictions with which Hong Kong lacks an extradition deal, including the Chinese mainland, Taiwan and Macao.

Officials said the bill had to be passed as soon as possible so a murder suspect could be sent to Taiwan.

Chan Tong-kai is wanted there for the murder of his girlfriend. He was arrested in Hong Kong in March last year and sentenced to 29 months in prison on money-laundering charges this April.
But he could be released for good behavior as soon as October and be at liberty to flee the city.

“I feel obliged to find a way to deal with the Taiwan murder case so that justice can be done for the deceased, her parents and society, while at the same time address the deficiencies in our system so that Hong Kong will not become a place for criminals to evade legal responsibility.”

Earlier some 930,000 people signed an online petition to support the government’s effort to pass the bill.

On the other hand, people who opposed to the bill organized a blatant riot, according to Carrie Lam. They occupied roads and used violent measures to storm the Legislative Council Complex on Wednesday. 22 police officers were injured.
Police responded with force after repeated warnings were ignored.

The chief executive said more sufficient and effective communication with the public is needed in the future.