Protesters occupied a lobby at the Hong Kong government headquarters on Friday to demand the axing of a controversial extradition law amendment, which ended with nine people arrested.
Political group Demosisto led a charge into the East Wing of the Central Government Offices. Shortly before 11:30 am, five women successfully rushed into the lobby before other protesters were stopped by guards. “Withdraw the extradition law! Oppose legalised kidnapping,” they chanted.
Demosisto chair Ivan Lam also tried to enter the lobby but was wrestled away. Guards then closed the sliding main doors of the lobby after a scuffle.
At 12:35pm, Lam and three other protesters who did not manage to enter the lobby were arrested.
The five sit-in protesters were also carried out by police at around 12:55pm and were arrested. According to Demosisto, three protesters were their members and the other two were students at Lingnan University.
The protesters were opposing an amendment to Hong Kong’s extradition law, which would allow the city to handle extradition requests from jurisdictions where there are no pre-existing agreements – most notably mainland China and Taiwan.
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Posted by 香港眾志 Demosistō on Thursday, 14 March 2019
A few guards wearing fluorescent vests and protesters fell to the ground during the confrontation.
As of 11:45 am, the five protesters said they would do a silent sit-in at the lobby until their demands were met.
Dialogue with Taiwan
Lam said that Hong Kong’s security chief John Lee had failed to give a satisfactory response to their group’s questions.
He said that the extradition plan had been opposed by Taiwan, and asked that Lee start a dialogue with Taiwanese authorities.
At the protest, Lam tried to call Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng, Secretary for Security John Lee and undersecretary Sonny Au. None of the officials picked up the phone personally.
🔴 HKFP_Live: Several arrests at government headquarters as activists protest a potential new extradition law.Full story: http://bit.ly/2W7ETNV
Posted by Hong Kong Free Press HKFP on Thursday, 14 March 2019
Demosisto members have tried to approach Lee and Cheng twice this week, when the two officials attended District Council meetings. Lam said that, in both cases, the officials did not respond to the fact that Taiwan has opposed the amendment.
The government’s move was spurred by the case of Poon Hiu-wing, a pregnant 20-year-old Hong Kong woman who was killed during a trip to Taiwan last February. Hong Kong authorities arrested the woman’s boyfriend Chan Tong-kai but were unable to charge him with murder in local courts. He is currently in custody on separate charges.
Lam said that Taiwan’s refusal meant that Chan’s case could not be resolved, Lam said, as any extradition would require the cooperation of Taiwan.
The Hong Kong government should negotiate an extradition arrangement with Taiwan directly to address the murder case, he added.
Around noon, one security guard was carried by stretcher to an ambulance.