Hong Kong to withdraw bill that sparked protests

By AP Reporters

Hong Kong authorities are set to formally withdraw an unpopular extradition bill that sparked months of chaotic protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

The security chief is due on Wednesday to announce the bill’s withdrawal in the city’s legislature.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam had proposed the amendments to resolve a case involving a man wanted for murder in Taiwan who could not be sent to the self-ruled island because there was no extradition agreement in place.

But the proposal stoked widespread fears residents would be put at risk of being sent into mainland China’s Communist Party-controlled judicial system, and Lam was forced to drop the bill in the face of fierce opposition.

Chan Tong-kai, left, walks out as he is released from prison (Mark Schiefenbein/AP)

The crisis has snowballed into demands for universal suffrage and an investigation into police tactics.

The news came as the murder suspect whose case indirectly led to the protests, Chan Tong-kai, was freed from prison on Wednesday.

Chan told reporters he was willing to surrender to authorities in Taiwan, where he is wanted for killing his girlfriend.

Chan was released after serving a separate sentence for money laundering offences.

“I am willing, for my impulsive actions and things I did wrong, to surrender myself, to return to Taiwan to face sentencing and stand trial,” he said.

He bowed deeply twice to the media scrum waiting outside the prison, thanked his parents for their support, apologised to the victim’s family and the people of Hong Kong, then got into a waiting van.