32 former HK officials and politicians appeal to government to scrap extradition bill

25-Jun-2019 Intellasia | HongkongFP | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Thirty-two former Hong Kong government officials and politicians made another urgent appeal to Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Sunday to withdraw the suspended extradition bill, two days after protesters laid siege to police headquarters.

The group also urged Lam and police chief Stephen Lo to retract the use of the term “riot” to describe clashes that broke out on June 12 a designation that could land participants in prison for up to 10 years under a colonial-era law. They also called for an independent enquiry to be established into alleged police brutality.

“We are a group of people who love and have served Hong Kong for many years,” their statement read. “Since our urgent appeal on 14 June, we have been watching recent developments in Hong Kong with even greater concern and apprehension. That is why we jointly write again, sincerely urging you to meet the following requests as soon as possible, so our society can return to normal.”

The joint statement comes after 27 former government officials and politicians made a similar appeal last Friday to withdraw the bill, urging pro-establishment legislators who hold the majority in the Legislative Council to vote against it, while calling on members of the governing team to tell Lam to yield to public opinion and resign if their advice is ignored.

The letter was signed by democrats such as Martin Lee, Cyd Ho and Audrey Eu, ex-chief secretary Anson Chan, as well as barrister Margaret Ng and writer Joseph Lian.

Hong Kong has been rocked by a series of protests over legal amendments proposed in February, which would enable the city to handle case-by-case extradition requests from jurisdictions with no prior agreements most notably China. Critics from across sectors have raised concerns over the risk of residents being extradited to the mainland, which lacks human rights protections. The bill was suspended last Saturday due in part to the recent unrest.

Thousands blocked entrances to the police headquarters in Wan Chai on Friday calling for accountability over alleged misconduct relating to clashes that broke out last week, when police deployed tear gas and rubber bullets against crowds advancing forwards and throwing objects. The protest followed an anti-extradition bill march last Sunday, which organisers said was attended by two million people.

‘Let the truth speak’

Peter Lai, a signatory and former Secretary for Security from 1995 to 1998, said the government should rebuild public trust and heal divisions in society after recent events.

“The key priority for Hong Kong now is to heal the deep divides in the community opened up by recent events,” he said. “As the history of other communities with entrenched conflicts show, truth and reconciliation must go together. Only with truth, impartially and thoroughly revealed by a respected body of public trust, can wounds be healed and the task of rebuilding trust begins. Let the truth speak.”



Category: Hong Kong

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