Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index closed 3.9 percent higher, up more than 995 points, on Wednesday, a sign that local investors welcomed this much-anticipated concession from the authorities.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam is expected to announce the decision to formally withdraw the extradition bill later on Wednesday, following a meeting with pro-Beijing lawmakers, Hong Kong deputies to the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference at her official residence, the South China Morning Post reported earlier in the day.
Hong Kong's economy suffered massive losses after protests erupted in the semi-autonomous region, as local residents expressed concerns over the controversial extradition bill that could allow them to be sent to China to face trial.
After millions of local residents took the streets in early June, Lam decided to suspend the bill infinitely and called the bill "dead." But her concessions failed to pacify protesters, who went on to make five demands, of which included the formal withdrawal of the controversial bill, an independent investigation into police brutality and Lam's resignation.
As tensions continued to escalate in recent weeks, some protesters turned to violent tactics and were met with heavy-handed crackdowns from local police.
In response to reports of Lam’s decision to formally withdraw the bill, protesters posted on popular social media platforms that they would continue to protest until Lam met the remaining demands.