Hong Kong formally withdraws proposed extradition law

Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam.
Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam. Photo credit: Getty

Hong Kong has formally withdrawn legislation that would have allowed its citizens to be extradited to mainland China, reports Reuters.

The planned legislation was one of the catalysts that sparked protests across Hong Kong.

Dropping plans to introduce the legislation was one of five demands protesters have made on government officials.

The other demands were that the government withdraws the use of the word "riot" in relation to protests; arrested protesters were released unconditionally and charges against them dropped; there would be an independent enquiry into police behaviour; and that there be the implementation of genuine universal suffrage.

Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam announced in September that the Government would withdraw the bill. 

The formal withdrawal of the legislation comes as the man who sparked protests in the first place was released from prison.

Chan Tong-kai, a Hong Kong resident, was arrested on suspicion of murdering his girlfriend while the couple were on holiday in Taiwan.

He then fled back to Hong Kong, and because Hong Kong has no extradition treaty with Taiwan he couldn't be sent back to Taiwan to face trial.

The case caused the Hong Kong Government to propose a new bill that would allow case-by-case extradition of people suspected of committing crimes to countries that don't have extradition treaties with Hong Kong. Included in these countries was mainland China. 

Protesters believed the proposed law would be used to target political opponents of the Chinese Government.

Chan was released from prison today and made a public apology, reports the South China Morning Post.

Although he wasn't extradited to face the murder charge, he spent 18 months in jail on money-laundering charges.

After being released from custody Chan said he would surrender to Taiwan authorities, according to the South China Morning Post

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