Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has finally said those words. If only she had said them in June, would Hong Kong have been spared the unrest and riots over the past three months? We will never know. But why the sudden U-turn when she had insisted the extradition bill was dead and there was no need to formally withdraw it? The conventional explanation is that she was willing to withdraw the bill, but hardliners in Beijing thought that would amount to a complete capitulation. If true, how did she manage to change their minds? Or did she use her last ounce of authority to make the decision unilaterally? Either way, Beijing will not have been pleased. So Lam deserves some credit in taking a necessary step to ending the crisis. However, it is clearly not enough by itself. Hong Kong leader’s withdrawal of extradition bill draws more scepticism than hope While the initial peaceful mass rallies targeted the bill itself, most grievances of Hong Kong people, especially the young, arose from the subsequent unrest. Pan-democrats, predictably, have dismissed the decision as a “fake concession”. Even some government allies say it comes rather late in the day. Protest groups are already organising another mass rally. This does not mean the latest measure has failed; it needs to follow up with more, for lack of a better word, concessions. But these must be realistic, not the so-called five demands of the protesters as a take-it-or-leave-it package. As much as it is unpalatable, given the widespread and wanton destruction and mayhem, we may need to accept an amnesty for protesters and rioters charged with crimes that did not involve injuries to people. This should only apply to offences committed between June and now; those in the future may be dealt with under applicable laws. Decision to withdraw extradition bill mine not Beijing’s, says Hong Kong leader There should also be an official guarantee – though an unofficial one probably exists already – that there will be no retribution or punishment against police who carried out duties in dealing with the unrest. A commission of truth and reconciliation – modelled on that of post- apartheid South Africa – should be established after a decent interval, say, three months of public tranquillity. During this time, its mandate, membership and powers may be openly debated and decided on. Hong Kong people have had enough of narcissistic nihilists, incompetent bureaucrats, Beijing hardliners and muddling foreigners. It’s time for local people of goodwill to come forward and save our city from being torn apart.