Hong Kong shares climb 4.16% after Carrie Lam said to withdraw extradition bill

According to local media reports, the region’s chief executive Carrie Lam will officially withdraw the proposed extradition bill later on Wednesday.

Hong Kong’s main stock benchmark the Hang Seng Index (HSI) surged more than 4.16% on Wednesday afternoon after news reports said that the special administrative region will formally withdraw its controversial extradition bill.

According to local media reports including the South China Morning Post, the region’s chief executive Carrie Lam will officially withdraw the proposed extradition bill later on Wednesday - a key demand from the protester groups.

A large uptrend in trading started at around 1.50pm when the HSI was trading at 25,845.22 points. The HSI then cooled slightly by 2.15pm to hover around 26,300 levels and then continued on the uphill climb, but at a slower pace.

At the time of this publication at around 3.38pm Hong Kong time, the HSI has spiked higher by 4.16%, up 1,061.34 points, at 26,589.19.

The controversial extradition bill had sparked months of mass protests from the Hong Kong public and disrupted businesses and trade. The Hong Kong stock market was also spooked by a civil unrest that was snowballing as mass demonstrations escalated to millions of people taking to the streets.

The bill would have allowed people in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China for trial.

Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empire at the end of the first opium war in 1842, but the sovereignty over the territory was transferred to China in 1997.

The region is a special administrative region, where Hong Kong maintains governing and economic systems that are separate from mainland China. Protesters were demonstrating to preserve their autonomy as a region, as they called for citizens’ rights and freedom.

The “one country, two systems” special administration framework is however, due to expire in 2047.

The demonstrations against the bill began in March and April and escalated in the months after. Lam had suspended the bill in July, but protesters did not stop in their demands.

Other demands from the protesters include a retraction in any characterization of the protests as a “riot” and to drop all charges against any arrested anti-extradition protesters.

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