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Hong Kong protests against proposed new extradition laws

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By Euronews  with REUTERS
Hong Kong protest demanding end to proposed extradition bill with China
Hong Kong protest demanding end to proposed extradition bill with China   -   Copyright  REUTERS

Tens of thousands of people marched on the Hong Kong parliament on Sunday to protest proposed new laws that would allow people to be extradited to mainland China for trial.

Opponents of the proposal say it undermines the city's core rights and freedoms which were guaranteed under the city's handover from Britain in 1997.

"It basically won't matter whether you travel into the mainland," says legal clerk Edward Wen. "Just staying here in Hong Kong it's hopeless anyway. The way they have organised this, as soon as they want to extradite you, it's hopeless. The most scary thing is that in the mainland they can detain you via executive order, no crime is needed."

"Once this law has been passed it won't matter if you are an average person or a foreigner coming through Hong Kong," explains bank employee Jayson Shing. "There will be a real possibility you'll be taken and sent off to the mainland."

The demonstrations have brought together diverse elements of Hong Kong society - from international business elites to rights groups and even some pro-establishment figures. Government officials say the changes are needed to plug long-standing legal loopholes. 

Organisers say 130,000 people turned out for the march but police put the number at just under 23,000.