Tens of thousands of masked protesters are clashing with police in Hong Kong and have forced the government to delay a debate on a controversial extradition law.
The government says the legislation is necessary to plug a loophole exposed by a murder case in Taiwan and to prevent Hong Kong becoming a safe haven for fugitives, but critics fear Hongkongers and foreigners in the city risk being sent to mainland China to face unfair trials.
Today’s protest follows Sunday's march, the biggest since the 1997 handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China.
Follow our live blog below.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 10.49pm]
Hong Kong's Chief Executive called the protests "an organised riot". People found guilty of rioting in Hong Kong can face up to 10 years in prison. But she does not say whether the law will be withdrawn. Instead, she talks about mothers not giving in to easily to whatever their children demand.
An administrator of a Telegram instant messaging group was arrested for allegedly conspiring with others to charge the Legislative Council Complex and block roads. Police showed up at the home of Ivan Ip, in his early 20s, with a search warrant on Tuesday night, his lawyer Bond Ng said on Wednesday. Ip was arrested for conspiracy to commit a public nuisance.
Amnesty International criticises police for what the rights group calls excessive force against demonstrators. Director Tam Man-kei says: “The ugly scenes of police using tear gas and pepper spray against overwhelmingly peaceful protesters is a violation of international law.” She says tear gas and rubber bullets are notoriously inaccurate and indiscriminate, and can result in serious injury and even death.
“This excessive response from police is fuelling tensions and is likely to contribute to worsening the violence, rather than end it,” Tam adds.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 8.55pm]
SCMP reports that The Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers has objected to the plan to launch class boycotss, fearing that students will be dragged into the violence and put their personal safety at risk.
Assocaited Press reports that Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang says “any act that undermines Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability is opposed by mainstream public opinion in Hong Kong.”
He also denied at his regular briefing Wednesday that China has been interfering in the city’s affairs in a way that violates agreements made when Hong Kong was handed back to China from British control.
He said: “Hong Kong people’s rights and freedoms have been fully guaranteed in accordance with law.”
Speaking in parliament, British Prime Minister Theresa May said London was concerned about the potential effect of the proposals, particularly given the large number of UK citizens in Hong Kong.
“We have been unequivocal in our views,” she told MPs.
“It is vital that those extradition arrangements are in line with the rights and freedoms that were set down in that... Joint Declaration.”
The Hong Kong Tourism Board has cancelled a Dragon Boat Carnival which was to be held at Central Harbourfront from Friday through to Sunday.
AFP reports: - British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt called on the Hong Kong government to “listen to the concerns of its people” amid violent protests Wednesday against plans to allow extraditions to China.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 6.49pm]
SCMP reports that as of 6pm, 22 people had been injured and sent to public hospitals.
Twelve men and three women have been sent to Queen Mary Hospital, with six in stable condition. Four men and three women have been sent to Ruttonjee Hospital, with four of those stable. The conditions of others are unknown.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 6.39pm]
Commuters have been told they can go through the gates at Admiralty MTR station without paying because the station is too crowded. They say MTR staff will let them out at their destinations if they explain the situation to them.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 6.35pm]
Police have cleared out all the protesters on Harcourt Road, though evidence of the clashes remain.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 6.28pm]
In a leaked video taped earlier with TV station TVB via financial media startup Fortune Insight, Chief Executive Carrie Lam tearfully denied accusations that she betrayed HK and said, “My husband said to me ‘How can you possibly sell out Hong Kong when you sold your body and soul for Hong Kong.'”
【突發，請廣傳：林鄭在TVB上嗚咽回應「賣港」質詢】 受示威浪潮影響，特首林鄭月蛾嗚咽回應「賣港」質詢，她指自己對此地的愛，不比任何人少，她亦指其「不理世事」的丈夫亦她被人稱「賣港」非常心痛，稱林鄭不可能賣港，但成為行政長官後，丈夫稱她已「賣身給香港」。 BREAKING, please share: Carrie Lam Answers to Suspicions of "Selling Out Hong Kong" The Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, answered to questions of her "selling out Hong Kong". She claimed that she loved the city not any less than others. She also said she was heartbroken when her husband--who did not care much about current events--claimed that she could not possibly have sold out Hong Kong. After becoming the Chief Executive, her husband said, Carrie had already "sold her body and soul to Hong Kong". 影片來源：FI編輯翻攝 閱讀更多： 致我們或將逝去的香港｜FI 編輯部｜Fortune Insight https://fortuneinsight.com/web/posts/298007 #返送中條例 #示威 #逃犯條例 #即時新聞 #立法會 #FI
由 Fortune Insight 發佈於 2019年6月12日星期三
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 6.13pm]
Legislative Council president Andrew Leung has announced that the reading for the extradition bill will not be held today. Lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick confirmed the news, and said legislators would be informed when a new time for the meeting is scheduled.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 5.56pm]
According to SCMP reporters, Chief Executive Carrie Lam can be seen shedding tears in a leaked video in which she says, "I grew up with all Hongkongers, my love for this place had driven me into making many personal sacrifices."
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 5.41pm]
Public broadcaster RTHK reports that one of their drivers suffered a head injury during the protest, and was unconscious when he was taken to Queen Mary Hospital.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 5.37pm]
The Hong Kong Professional Teachers Union have released a Facebook post warning against the excessive use of force by police and demanding the withdrawal of the bill. They have called for educators at schools and tertiary institutions to strike this week in protest against the extradition bill. For full details and their suggested guidelines, see their Facebook post here.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 5.00pm]
Here is how to leave the the Admiralty area amidst the blocked roads and ongoing protest.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 5.00pm]
Police special tactical units in heavy gear can be seen attempting to disperse the crowd from the area near city hall. Officers can also be seen using their batons on a protester and then wrestling him to the ground near the end of this video taken by YP reporters.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 4.55pm]
A protester is arrested, and police inside Legco continue to hold their ground.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 4.50pm]
YP reporters can see more police special tactical squad members are moving to an area outside city hall, as some protesters are slowly coming back to the areas as well.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 4.46pm]
Police headquarters in Wan Chai - a short walk from where the clashes are happening - is shutting down to guard against any possible incidents there.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 4.36pm]
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 4.30pm]
Commissioner of police, Stephen Lo Wai-chung described protesters as rioters in a live briefing and that they were using dangerous weapons, and repeatedly charged police front lines. He said police have used pepper spray, tear gas, bean bag bullets and rubber bullets. He is unable to give an estimate of how many rounds of tear gas was used or non-lethal bullets fired as of yet. He urged all citizens not to go to the Admiralty area.
He also said a state of emergency would not be called, nor would there be a curfew enforced in the city. He also denied that the PLA would be called in.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 4.14pm]
YP staff report the tear gas is flowing towards City Hall. People are escaping, running, coughing, throwing up. Some are running around, yelling to ask if anyone needs water; others are sitting down.
One group has started chanting "withdraw, withdraw" near City Hall.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 4.10pm]
SCMP reports protesters have barged into the Legislative Council building. Riot police have responded by firing tear gas and smoke bombs inside the building.
Some council members are providing tissues and water to protesters stung by tear gas.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 4.06pm]
Protesters briefly pushed through the barricade at Tim Wa Ave, as police wielding non-lethal weapons attempt to regain ground. Beanbag rounds were fired at protesters.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 3.47pm]
Riot police have deployed tear gas as protesters attack harbour-side entrances of Legco.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 3.43pm]
Protesters have broken pass the first set of metal barricades. Protesters are throwing traffic cones, umbrellas, and what appears to be water bottles at police. Some protesters are using parts of the barricades as makeshift battering rams to make further advances.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 3.34pm]
Democratic Party lawmakers Helena Wong Pik-wan and Lam Cheuk-ting have been sprayed with the pepper-based solution by police.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 3.33pm]
The police raise the red warning flag at least three times, as protesters at the front call for helmets to be passed up.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 3.13pm]
Police spray a pepper-based solution at protesters, who push forward, some throwing plastic water bottles at police. Protesters are also passing saline to those at the front of the crowd. Saline can help if someone has been pepper sprayed.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 3.11pm]
Protesters heard shouting "China communist dogs at police" on the flyover by Legco.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 3.01pm]
YP staff report that protesters gathered outside Legco chanting anti-legislation slogans. They burst through the metal barriers at 3.01pm. Protesters had demanded the government withdraw the extradition bill by 3pm.
Protesters were seen throwing objects across the barriers at police. Officers responded by firing what cans of what could be pepper spray. Many protestors had umbrellas open, and were wearing helmets.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 2.48pm]
A temporary booth has been set up next to the Lennon Wall on Harcourt Road to provide protesters with food, water and protective equipment.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 2.23pm]
Scenes from the ground section of Harcourt Road in Admiralty. Some protesters came prepared with protective gear such as hard hats and goggles.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 2.22pm]
The SCMP reports that education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen says the Professional Teachers' Union is considering a citywide school boycott and will make an official decision soon.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 2.14pm]
Crowds are chanting "No extradition bill" and "Withdraw the bill" as Harcourt road is still packed with protesters.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 1.43pm]
According to SCMP, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor will not appear in two public functions - for which she was due to attend - today.
The two events are the reception for award recipients of the 47th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva at government headquarters at 4pm, and the celebration of the 19th anniversary of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited at 6pm.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 1.35pm]
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 1.07pm]
SCMP has posted this photo of a banner is hung from the Admiralty Centre footbridge. On one side, it says: "Majority calls on Carrie Lam to step down", and on the other: "Withdraw the extradition bill, defend 'one country two systems'".
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 12.56pm]
According to SCMP, an announcement was sent out around noon in an encrypted channel that protesters have been using to discuss strategies, saying that they should escalate their actions if the government does not withdraw the extradition bill by 3pm. The message did not rule out storming Legco.
They also said they would consider besieging the residences of senior officials; blocking traffic from Central to Wan Chai indefinitely; going on strike indefinitely; paralysisng the MTR system; and refusing the pay any government fees or fines.
"We can't let [officials] drag on responding to our demands like they did five years ago," the announcement stated, referring to the Occupy movement. "Set a deadline and also, targets."
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 12.50pm]
Protesters are chanting, "we're back!" as block the Harcourt Road flyover that connects the eastern and western districts on Hong Kong Island.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 12.23pm]
SCMP reports that Democratic Party member Wu Chi-wai (fourth from left, below) again calls for Carrie Lam to shelve the bill at a press conference. "I hope within the day, she can retract the bill," Wu says.
He also warns that the protest could escalate if the government fails to respond.
"More and more Hongkongers are willing to pay any price to safeguard the core values of the city."
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 12.14pm]
SCMP reports that, while today's meeting at the Legislative Council has been delayed by the protests, some pro-establishment lawmakers are believed to have made it into the building.
Pan-democrats said they were not sure how many were inside, but said eight cars had been spotted in the building's car park, which did not belong to pan-dems. Earlier, sources also said Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen was not inside the complex.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 11.55am]
Dozens of protesters have moved barricades across Queensway, in Admiralty, blocking the road on both sides. Access to Garden Road has also been blocked, eyewitnesses near Bank of China told Young Post.
According to SCMP, just before noon, police were maintaining their lines outside government headquarters. One police sergeant, who asked not to be named, said they had no instructions to use tear gas yet.
“Just like equipping us with guns, it’s just to be used as a very last resort to protect ourselves, just look at how many people there are,” he said. “As long as they don’t attack us, I don’t think we need to escalate to use of force.”
The officer said that within the force some were more sympathetic to students, while others felt annoyed at having to work long hours. “But neither students nor police can solve this, that’s beyond us,” he said.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 11.48am]
Legislator Eddie Chu Hoi-dick said to a crowd of supporters: “If 35 legislators are present, they can hold the meeting immediately. That’s why our goal today is to keep Tamar Park surrounded, so they cannot go to work. We need more people to come and protect the area. How long must we do this?”
The crowd answered “Forever.”
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 11.40am]
Accoring to SCMP, the eastbound lane of Queensway - a major road that connect Central to the east side of Hong Kong Island - was brought to a standstill as protesters block the road.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 11.20am]
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 11.16am]
The Hong Kong government released a special announcement at 11.11am from the Education Bureau, urging schools to put students' safety first. The statement reads:
"Since students' attendance of school may be affected by abnormal traffic conditions in the Wan Chai and Central and Western districts today (June 12), the Education Bureau suggests that schools adopt contingency measures under school-based mechanisms and exercise flexibility when handling individual students' lateness or absence.
The bureau calls on schools to make suitable arrangements, take proper care of students on campus, maintain communication with parents and, when class is dismissed, allow students to return home only under safe conditions.
The bureau reminds students to put their personal safety above everything else at all times, stay away from potentially dangerous places and not to take part in unlawful activities."
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 11.00am]
The Legislative Council just issued a statement rescheduling the Council meeting due to being at 11am.
The statement reads: "Under Rules of Procedure 14(3), the President of the Legislative Council has directed that the Council meeting of June 12 scheduled to begin at 11am today be changed to a later time to be determined by him. Members will be notified of the time of the meeting later. "
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 10.47am]
The Hong Kong government released a statement announcing that all entrances of the Central Government Complex have been closed. The statement, issued on their website reads:
"As the access roads leading to the Central Government Offices (CGO), Tamar are now blocked and police has implemented traffic arrangements, all entrances of CGO have been closed until further notice. While staff members are advised not to go to CGO, those already at CGO are advised to stay at their working place until further notice."
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 10.42am]
Protesters are being asked to storm Legco's east entrance, and others are seen nearby gathering bricks from the ground in a scene reminiscent from the Mong Kok riot from February 2016.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 10.30am]
SCMP reports huge crowds are gathering on Harcourt Road near Legco.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 10.24am]
An update of the situation from SCMP. Several areas are blocked by protesters and police as follows:
Lung Wong Road between Tim Mei Road and Lung Hop Street
Harcourt Road between PLA Garrison Headquarters and Hong Kong Red Cross Headquarters
Legislative Council Road
Tim Mei Road
Tim Wah Road
Legco demonstration Area
Other crowded zones:
Admiralty Centre footbridge
Police vans have been seen heading to Fenwick Pier Sreet, but the situation there is not clear at the moment.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 10.16am]
SCMP reports that the government's Administrative Wing has just sent a notice to civil servants telling them not to go to government headquarters.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 10.01am]
Due to the blockage of main roads in Admiralty, Wanchai, and Central, the Kowloon Motor Bus announced that most services will be affected. Some stops will be skipped or replaced with temporary stops.
In addition, routes 905, 905P, 914P, 914X, 978, 978A and 978B will not stop at their usual Citic Tower and Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre stops. Instead they will stop at a temporary stop near the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
More information can be found in their app or their hotline 2745 4466.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 9.59am]
SCMP reports police unfurled an orange flag with the words "Disperse or we fire" on Tim Mei Avenue, which briefly heightened tension with protesters. Some protesters had pushed barriers.
They had earlier posted a Facebook video urging protesters to leave the area, warning that "appropriate force" would be used if necessary.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 9.52am]
According to Young Post readers, trains at Admiralty are service as usual, and trains are now stopping again. Although according to eyewitnesses, "trains seem very quiet."
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 9.48am]
Accoring to the South China Morning Post, opposition lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick appears and cheers the crowds. Speaking to the press, Chu slams city leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor for not listening to the people's voices. He urged Lam to withdraw the bill immediately. "You can see that lawmakers have trouble going to work. I will urge Legco president Andrew Leung to abort the meeting at 11am," Chu says. "Lam should not use tear gas or rubber bullets to clear protesters here. What she should do is to withdraw the bill immediately."
[UPDATE - Wednesday, 9.43am]
Protesters confront Hong Kong police on the footbridge connecting Admiralty to Tamar Park.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, June 12, 9.37am]
The Hong Kong government released a statement at 9.19am, announcing temporary arrangements for entering and exiting the Central Government Complex:
"As the access roads leading to the Central Government Offices (CGO), Tamar are now blocked and police has implemented temporary traffic arrangements, staff working in the CGO are advised not to drive to CGO. Staff can make use of the staff entrance on the 2/F of CGO, East Wing to enter and exist CGO. Staff members are advised to be mindful of their safety too."
[UPDATE - Wednesday, June 12, 9.28am]
According to SCMP staff, trains did not stop at Admiralty this morning. In a tweet from 'MTR Service Update' at 9.05am, due to police action, Island Line and Tsuen Wan Line trains do not call at Admiralty station.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, June 12, 9.19am]
A video taken by an eyewitness just before 9am shows protestors urging others to take over Harcourt Road in Admiralty.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, June 12, 9.02am]
[UPDATE - Wednesday, June 12, 8.46am]
Last night, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen broke her silence and spoke out for the first time against the proposed amendments.
At about 9pm on Tuesday, the leader of the self-ruled island said on her Facebook page that the jurisdiction would not accept the transfer of Chan Tong-kai, who is wanted in connection with the murder of his pregnant girlfriend there, and has been used by the Hong Kong government to justify the need for the bill.
“We will absolutely not accept any action aiming at eliminating national sovereignty, and we reject any transfer cases that were based on the extradition bill amendments,” Tsai said.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, June 12, 8.46am]
Police have displayed the "red warning flag", warning protesters to stay back.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, June 12, 8.35am]
Lung Wui Road outside Legco is currently being blocked by protestors, as per the organisers lead. Protestors are screaming, "No China extradition!" According to an eyewitness, police released pepper spray on some protestors.
[UPDATE - Wednesday, June 12, 8.10am]
According to 17-year-old Pauline Wong, scenes at Tamar are peaceful. "There isn't any violence, but the organisers are trying to get people to block the road so the legislators won't be able to get into the Legco building," she says. She added that there are swarms of police holding weapons and shields roaming the complex. Based on a photo she sent us, there appear to be hundreds of protestors - majority dressed in black - this morning.
[Wednesday, June 12, 7.30am]
Hong Kong's Legislative Council is preparing for the second reading of the controversial extradition bill this morning at 11am. The debate is going ahead despite Sunday's massive protest march, hundreds gathering at Legco headquarters overnight, and Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor receiving death threats from an unknown number of people threatening to kill her, the justice secretary and their families if the extradition bill was not withdrawn within 24 hours.
Hong Kong Police had deployed 5,000 officers overnight to deal with expected protests, and at 12.07am an amber security alert was issued. When this alert is in force, access to areas of the complex are limited.
Despite the storms last night, hundreds of people gathered outside government headquarters. The entrance to the Legislative Council was barricaded and the police had thrown a security blanket around the building, South China Morning Post reported. At nearby Admiralty MTR station, dozens of police officers were seen stopping passers-by and searching their bags.
This morning, hundreds of people have already gathered outside the Legco building for the planned “picnic”, one of the public Facebook events encouraging the public to gather outside the Legco complex.
If you are planning to attend the protest, or are supporting in another way from school, let us konw. Send pics and videos to [email protected].
If you do, please include your FULL NAME, AGE & SCHOOL. Plus a time location & time stamp, and a caption of what is happening.