Hong Kong activist released from prison, vows to join protests

Tuesday, 18 Jun, 2019

In Hong Kong, the protest against the government's controversial extradition bill continues a day after around 2 million people joined a march to show their discontent at the leadership of Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

Lam has said that the extradition legislation is needed for Hong Kong to uphold justice, meet its global obligations and not become a magnet for fugitives.

The outlet added that Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Hong Kong's chief executive, held a meeting with key city administration officials late on Friday to also discuss various options.

In 2014, protesters calling for universal suffrage camped out on the streets of Hong Kong's main business district in Central for nearly 3 months.

Critics were also angry that Lam missed repeated opportunities to apologise for what many saw as heavy-handed police tactics.

After speaking to journalists who mobbed him as he left the correctional facility Monday, Wong laid flowers at a makeshift memorial outside a downtown shopping mall where a protester fell to his death Saturday night after hanging a banner on some scaffolding. The Hong Kong government has refused to withdraw or delay putting forward the bill after tens of thousands of people marched against it on Sunday.

The horrifying images coming out of Hong Kong make it hard to believe that China's leaders were once actually pretty popular there.

On June 9, during a massive demonstration with a record turnout of more than a million people, Lam probably still had an opportunity to redeem herself, but she instead made a decision to press ahead with the legislation, and this led to another huge protest on June 12, which turned violent as police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and beanbag rounds on the young activists. And Carrie Lam is a stone-cold bureaucrat. Until this month, the failure of the "Umbrella" protests to wrest concessions from Beijing, coupled with prosecutions of at least 100 protesters, had discouraged many young people from going back out on the streets. "My parents don't know I'm here right now", she said.

'The council will halt its work in relation to the bill until our working communication explanation and listening to opinions is completed, ' she said.

Police, who historically give far lower estimates for political protests, said 338,000 people turned out at the demonstration's "peak" - still their largest crowd estimate on record.

President Tsai Ing-wen, who is seeking a second term and hails from a Beijing-skeptical party, has repeatedly referred to the clashes in Hong Kong last week as a wake-up call.

Activists had called on Hong Kong residents to boycott classes and work, though it was unclear how many might heed that call.

There was skepticism among some protesters about Ms Lam's decision to suspend the bill.

The "one country, two systems" formula envisages democratic Taiwan joining the authoritarian mainland but keeping some yet to be determined privileges.

Vast crowds marched for hours in tropical heat on Sunday calling for the resignation of chief executive Carrie Lam, who has been forced to suspend a widely loathed bill that would have allowed extraditions to the Chinese mainland.

As its media diverts attention to the trade war and warnings of sabotage by outside forces, mainland readers are largely oblivious to the aims of the mass protests - the withdrawal of contentious legislation that would, for the first time, allow extradition to China.

Activist investor David Webb, in a newsletter on Sunday, said if Lam was a stock he would recommend shorting her with a target price of zero.

A senior Hong Kong official close to the Beijing-backed Lam told Reuters on Monday Beijing was not likely to let her step down, even if she wanted to, saying "it would create more sorts of problems than it solves, at all sorts of levels".

Almost 80 people were injured in this week's unrest, including 22 police officers, and one man died late Saturday when he fell from a building where he had been holding an hours-long anti-extradition protest.

She revealed that Hong Kongers are so concerned about the bill that even her families and relatives who are public servants also took to the streets in protest.

Hong Kong police said late on Monday that 32 people had been arrested since Wednesday, when police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters.

A group of uniformed police stood by without riot gear, in contrast to their appearance during recent skirmishes with protesters.

Until Saturday's announcement, Ms Lam had not spoken publicly since she labelled the protests "organised riots" during a tearful address.