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Hong Kong man falls to death while protesting extradition bill

Hong Kong protester, 35, falls to his death from the roof of a shopping centre while hanging a banner condemning the controversial extradition bill as thousands gather for a fresh mass rally today

  • Man, surname given as Leung, had climbed scaffolding on Pacific Place Mall in Admiralty district on Saturday
  • Mourners laid flowers, said prayers and gave written tributes near to where the man landed outside building 
  • His banner had called for entire withdrawal of bill allowing extraditions to mainland China, as well as release of ‘students and the injured’

Bouquets of white flowers, written tributes and origami cranes piled up today outside a high-end Hong Kong shopping mall, where a young man plunged to his death protesting against a controversial extradition bill – and protesters are marching against the measure again today.

The man, 35, whose surname was given as Leung, had hung a banner off the roof of Pacific Place shopping mall, which overlooks the site of violent clashes this week between police and demonstrators angry at a proposed law that would allow people to be sent to mainland China.

A video circulating on social media shows the man falling from rooftop scaffolding as firefighters tried to grab him on Saturday evening. 

They clutch at his clothes and he slips through their hands, missing a jump raft that had been inflated on the ground below. 

Scroll down for video. 

A 35-year-old man protesting in Hong Kong as died after falling from the roof of a shopping centre while hanging a banner condemning the controversial extradition bill. Above: mourners lay flowers at the foot of the Pacific Place Mall, in the Admiralty area

The man, whose surname was given by the authorities as Leung, was later hailed as a ‘martyr’ by fellow protesters. Above: Mourners gather to lay flowers and pay their respects near to where the man landed

He had unfurled a banner reading: ‘Entirely withdraw China extradition bill. We were not rioting. Release students and the injured’. Above: Flowers pile up outside the Pacific Place Mall in the Admiralty district

Emergency workers had tried to cushion the man’s fall with an inflatable but failed to catch him. 

He had unfurled a banner saying: ‘Entirely withdraw China extradition bill. We were not rioting. Release students and the injured’. 

Thousands of mourners, mostly young people dressed in black, joined enormous queues along busy roads to leave tributes and pay their respects, some crying and bowing as they offered sticks of incense. 

Next to a large pile of white flowers were hundreds of hand-written messages, lines of gifts laid out in offering including a bottle of single malt whiskey, and a white hard hat with the word ‘hero’ written across it.  

‘The flowers are white for purity and so we can show our respect for the dead. When I get there, I will offer these and say a prayer for him,’ said 18-year-old Travis. 

Emergency workers had tried to cushion the man’s fall with an inflatable but failed to catch him. Above: A woman pays her respects to the fallen man

Yesterday, the chief executive of the Hong Government, Carrie Lim, suspended the bill – which would have allowed prisoners to be extradited to mainland China – following the protests which have wracked the region. Above: Protesters were seen marching again today 

Protesters, dressed mostly in black, marched in Hong Kong today, just a day after government chief executive Carrie Lim suspended the controversial extradition bill

‘He walked a bloody road, I admire his energy, I admire his bravery,’ said a man called Yung, aged 26.  

Signs reading ‘Help Hong Kong. No extradition to China. RIP’ have been posted at the site.

Yesterday, the chief executive of Hong Kong’s government, Carrie Lim, suspended the bill in face of the protests.

Ms Lam said in a press conference that she took the decision in response to widespread public unhappiness over the measure, which would enable authorities to send some suspects to stand trial in mainland China. 

Protesters attending Sunday’s rally calling for the complete withdrawal of the  divisive bill were urged to bring a flower to leave as the march passes the site of the man’s death, and student groups announced plans for a candlelit vigil in the evening.

‘I think it will give us more energy to come on the streets today,’ said another mourner standing in long queues on the busy road, giving his name as Lau.

‘Now it’s no longer as simple as someone being hurt or bleeding, it’s someone who lost their life because of this resistance,’ said a man who gave his name as Hubert.

‘No one wanted to see this happen. I’m sure (Hong Kong chief executive) Carrie Lam didn’t want to see this happen, but as Hong Kong’s highest official she should not avoid people’s appeals.’

Organisers had been hoping for another mammoth turnout rally today to keep pressure on Ms Lam, who paused work on the bill after days of mounting pressure, saying she had misjudged the public mood. Above: thousands of protesters walk through Hon Kong today

An hour before the march was due to start subway stations were filled with dense crowds of black-clad protesters making their way to the start. Above: Protesters hold white flowers and hold posters, including one (right), mocked up in Game of Thrones style, dubbing Hong Kong’s leaders as a ‘Gang of Tyranny’ 

The proposed extradition bill – and the fear that it threatens Hong Kong’s way of life, freedom of speech and rule of law – has provoked some of the worst politically-motivated violence in the city for decades, with nearly 80 protesters and police hurt and eleven people arrested.

Many of those queuing up to pay tribute said they were going on to join the planned rally through the city to show their opposition to the bill. 

Organisers said more than one million people turned out to last week’s event.

Police said the man’s death incident was suicide, adding that a note was found at the scene.     

And large crowds were beginning to gather ahead of another mass rally in the territory today as public anger seethed following the unprecedented clashes between protesters and police. 

Last week’s violent clashes had seen police fire rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray at protesters. Above: Thousands of protesters carrying umbrellas take to a sporting area today 

Organisers were hoping for another mammoth turnout rally to keep pressure on Ms Lam, who paused work on the the bill after saying she had misjudged the public mood.  

Lam’s initial decision to ignore the record-breaking turnout and press ahead with tabling the bill for debate in the legislature on Wednesday had triggered fresh protests. 

Opposition to the bill united an unusually wide cross-section of Hong Kong, from influential legal and business bodies to religious leaders, as well as Western nations.

An hour before today’s march was due to start subway stations were filled with dense crowds of black-clad protesters making their way to the start.

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced at a press conference on Saturday that the debate on the extradition bill would be halted amid the protests

Critics fear the Beijing-backed law will tangle people up in China’s notoriously opaque and politicised courts and damage the city’s reputation as a safe business hub.

The city was rocked by the worst political violence since its 1997 handover to China on Wednesday as tens of thousands of protesters were dispersed by riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets.

Lam stopped short of committing to permanently scrapping the proposal yesterday and the concession was swiftly rejected by protest leaders, who called on her to resign, permanently shelve the bill and apologise for police tactics.

‘The extradition bill being suspended only means it can be revived anytime Carrie Lam wants,’ said activist Lee Cheuk-yan. 

This woman pulled out several Union Jacks from her bag as she prepares to protest in Hong Kong today

Suspending the bill has done little to defuse simmering public anger and protest organisers have called for a city-wide strike Monday as well as Sunday’s rally.

Jimmy Sham, from the main protest group the Civil Human Rights Front, likened Lam’s offer to a ‘knife’ that had been plunged into the city.

‘Carrie Lam’s speech yesterday in no way calmed down public anger,’ he said. 

This afternoon, protesters are set to march from a park on the main island to the city’s parliament – a repeat of a massive rally a week earlier that organisers said more than a million people attended. 

Critics of the proposed extradition bill fear the Beijing-backed extradition law will tangle people up in China’s notoriously opaque and politicised courts and damage the city’s reputation as a safe business hub. Above: Protesters in the territory today

The city has been rocked by the worst worst political violence since its 1997 handover from Britain to China and Ms Lim’s concession of a suspension of the bill was rejected by protest leaders

Protesters carry posters demanding, ‘Stop Killing Us’ as they bravely march through Hong Kong today 

A huge banner hanging from the city’s Lion Rock mountain on Sunday read ‘Defend Hong Kong’.

‘We remain an enclave of human rights and civil liberties at the footsteps of a country whose leadership do not share our values or beliefs,’ lawmaker Dennis Kwok told local broadcaster RTHK ahead of Sunday’s rally.

Lam had been increasingly isolated in her support for the bill, with even pro-Beijing lawmakers distancing themselves from the extradition proposals in recent days.

The Chinese government said suspending the bill was a good decision to ‘listen more widely to the views of the community and restore calm to the community as soon as possible’. 

Critics were also angry that Lam missed repeated opportunities to apologise for what many saw as heavy-handed police tactics.

Suspending the bill has done little to defuse simmering public anger and protest organisers have called for a city-wide strike on Monday alongside today’s rally

The proposed extradition bill – and the fear that it threatens Hong Kong’s way of life, freedom of speech and rule of law – has provoked some of the worst politically-motivated violence in the city for decades. Above: Umbrella-carrying protesters today

Police said they had no choice but to use force to meet violent protesters who besieged their lines outside the city’s parliament on Wednesday.

But critics – including legal and rights groups – say officers used the actions of a tiny group of violent protesters as an excuse to unleash a sweeping crackdown on the predominantly young, peaceful protesters.

‘The pro-democracy group will not stop at this point, they want to build on the momentum against Carrie Lam,’ political analyst Willy Lam told AFP. 

‘They will keep the heat on and ride the momentum.’

Protest leaders have called for police to drop charges against anyone arrested for rioting and other offences linked to Wednesday’s clashes.

Activist Lee said opponents feared reprisals by the government and wanted assurances ‘that our Hong Kong people, our protesters, are not being harassed and politically prosecuted by this government.’

Lam has argued that Hong Kong needs to reach an extradition agreement with the mainland, and says safeguards were in place to ensure dissidents or political cases would not be accepted.

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