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Hong Kong leader withdraws extradition bill that sparked protests

HONG KONG, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 03: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks to the media during a press conference at the Central Government Offices on September 3, 2019 in Hong Kong, China. Lam addressed questions surrounding a leaked recording of a closed-door meeting with business leaders where she is heard apologizing for the "unforgivable havoc" caused by her attempts to introduce the extradition bill. Pro-democracy protesters have continued demonstrations across Hong Kong since 9 June against a controversial bill which allows extraditions to mainland China as the ongoing protests, many ending up in violent clashes with the police, surpassed the Umbrella Movement five years ago, becoming the biggest political crisis since Britain handed its onetime colony back to China in 1997. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

HONG KONG — Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has announced the government will formally withdraw an extradition bill that has sparked months of demonstrations in the city, bowing to one of the protesters’ demands.

The bill would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be sent to mainland China for trials. It sparked massive protests that have become increasingly violent and caused the airport to shut down earlier this month.

But Lam said in a pre-recorded television message on Wednesday that the government would not accept other demands, including an independent inquiry into alleged police misconduct against protesters. However, she named two new members to a police watchdog agency investigating the matter.

Protesters have also called for the release of those detained without charges, but Lam said this was unacceptable.

A lawmaker said the withdrawal of the bill was too little, too late.

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