Carrie Lam probably breathed a sigh of relief on Tuesday after her watered-down proposal on a contentious extradition arrangement finally won approving nods from some of Hong Kong’s business representatives, the SCMP's Jeffie Lam wrote.
The city’s leader had come under immense pressure locally and internationally over the past few weeks since her government introduced a proposal to allow one-off transfers of fugitives to any jurisdiction with which Hong Kong lacks an extradition deal, including mainland China, Taiwan and Macau. Lam has said the move aimed to plug a loophole exposed by the murder in Taiwan last year of a pregnant Hong Kong woman. Her boyfriend, the main suspect in the case, returned to Hong Kong where authorities are unable to extradite him to face trial.
Pan-democrats immediately blasted the plan for potentially opening the floodgates for requests to hand over people in Hong Kong wanted across the border, where the right to a fair trial is not necessarily guaranteed, the SCMP said.
"Initially, the Hong Kong government refused to budge and brushed aside such concerns as fear-mongering," SCMP's Lam wrote. "But when the American Chamber of Commerce warned the move could sabotage the city’s reputation as a 'secure haven for international business,'knees buckled and policymakers shrank back to the drawing board."