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Hong Kong leader says China extradition bill is 'dead'

13 July 2019

Hong Kong protesters clashed with police on Saturday in a town near the boundary with mainland China where thousands rallied against the presence of Chinese traders, seizing on another grievance following major unrest over an extradition bill.

Protesters hold placards reading "Strictly enforce the law against smugglers of grey goods" during a rally in Hong Kong on Saturday.

After the end of the Reclaim Sheung Shui protest against parallel traders who snap up goods such as foreign-made formula milk, medicines and soy sauce for reselling in China, in the town near the mainland border, hundreds of protesters put on goggles, face masks and hard hats and occupied the streets around the train station, which had been cordoned off for the police-sanctioned demonstration earlier.

Protesters used bottled water to clean their eyes of pepper spray while one demonstrator was bleeding from a head wound, an AFP reporter said.

The protest is the latest in a string of demonstrations that has roiled the former British colony for more than a month.

Wang was speaking out in public for the first time since millions of people took to the streets in recent weeks to protest against the bill they say could allow Chinese authorities to crack down on pro-democracy activists and critics of the Communist Party-led Beijing government.

Most protests have centred on the central business district, but demonstrators have recently begun to look elsewhere to widen support by taking up narrower, more domestic issues.

Police attack a protester in Hong Kong Saturday, July 13, 2019.

In Sheung Shui as protesters chanted demands in Mandarin, China's official language, for Chinese traders to go home. Many street-level shops were shuttered ahead of the march.

The small-time mainland traders have always been a source of anger among some in Hong Kong who argue that they have fuelled inflation, dodged taxes, diluted the town's identity and caused a spike in property prices.

"We don't want to stop travel and buying, but please, just make it orderly and legal". "The extradition bill was the tipping point for us to come out. We want to ask Carrie Lam, when are you going to speak the truth?"

Hong Kong media mogul and democracy advocate Jimmy Lai met with U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence this week over the extradition bill, while singer-activist Denise Ho gave a speech at the U.N. Human Rights Council on suppression of rights and freedom in Hong Kong and called on it to eject China as a member. "I hope that through today's action, people in Hong Kong will not forget that there are actually many other social issues waiting to be solved".

Protesters accused police of charging without warning.

The scene had calmed down somewhat by 8pm, when most of the protesters were leaving, but more than a hundred police officers in riot gear suddenly appeared at 8.10.

"Instead, she should really stand out and talk to the young protesters", Leung said. "How can they hit us with batons?" he said, staring at a pool of blood where one of his peers was treated.

Last Saturday, almost 2,000 people marched in the residential district of Tuen Mun to protest against middle-aged mainland women they accused of brashly singing and dancing to pop songs in Mandarin, which many locals considered a nuisance.

Anti-extradition protesters plan another demonstration on Sunday in the town of Sha Tin, in the so-called New Territories between Hong Kong island and the border with China.

Hong Kong leader says China extradition bill is 'dead'