Hong Kong To Push Ahead With Extradition Bill That Sparked Huge Protest

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s leader signaled Monday that her government will push ahead with amendments to extradition laws despite a massive protest against them that underscored fears about China’s broadening footprint in the semi-autonomous territory.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam told reporters the legislation is important and will help Hong Kong uphold justice and fulfill its international obligations. Safeguards added in May will ensure that the legislation protects human rights, she said.

In what appeared to be Hong Kong’s largest protest in more than a decade, hundreds of thousands of people marched through central Hong Kong on Sunday, three days before the Legislative Council is slated to take up the bill.

Hong Kong was guaranteed the right to retain its own social, legal and political systems for 50 years under an agreement reached before its 1997 return to China from British rule. But China’s ruling Communist Party has been seen as increasingly reneging on that agreement by pushing through unpopular legal changes.

From right, Hong Kong Secretary for Security John Lee, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and Secretary of Justice Teresa C



From right, Hong Kong Secretary for Security John Lee, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and Secretary of Justice Teresa Cheng listen to reporters questions during a press conference in Hong Kong on June 10, 2019.

The extradition bill amendments would allow Hong Kong to send people to mainland China to face charges, spurring criticism that defendants in the Chinese judicial system won’t have the same rights as they would in Hong Kong. Opponents contend the proposed legislation could make Hong Kong residents vulnerable to vague national security charges and unfair trials.

Lam said Sunday’s protest shows Hong Kong’s enduring commitment to its people’s freedoms. She denied that she is taking orders from the central government in China’s capital.

“I have not received any instruction or mandate from Beijing to do this bill,” she said. “We were doing it — and we are still doing it — out of our clear conscience, and our commitment to Hong Kong.”

Hong Kong currently limits extraditions to jurisdictions with which it has existing agreements or to others on an individual basis under a law passed before 1997. China was excluded because of concerns over its poor record on legal independence and human rights.

Lam was elected in 2017 by a committee of mostly pro-Beijing Hong Kong elites. Critics have accused her of ignoring widespread opposition to the extradition law amendments.

She said Monday that the bill seeks to prevent Hong Kong from becoming a haven for fugitives and is not focused on mainland China. Western democracies have accused Hong Kong of failing to address issues such as money laundering and terrorist financing, Lam said.

Sunday’s demonstration was mostly peaceful, though there were some late-night clashes between some remaining protesters and police. Three officers and one journalist were injured, according to Hong Kong media reports.

David Ortiz Shot, Hospitalized In Dominican Republic: Report

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — Former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was ambushed by a man who got off a motorcycle and shot him in the back at close range Sunday night in his native Dominican Republic, authorities said.

Dominican National Police Director Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte said Ortiz was at the Dial Bar and Lounge in Santo Domingo around 8:50 p.m. when the gunman approached from behind and shot him. Ortiz was taken to the Abel Gonzalez clinic, where he underwent surgery, and his condition was stable, Bautista said.



Ortiz’s father, Leo, speaking to reporters outside the clinic, said his son was out of danger and there wasn’t any collateral damage, meaning there was no damage to major organs. He said he had no idea why someone would have shot at his son.

“He is out of surgery and stable; he is resting,” Leo Ortiz said. “Big Papi will be around for a long time.”

The alleged gunman was captured and beaten by a crowd of people at the bar, Bautista said. He said police are waiting until the man undergoes treatment for his injuries before questioning him.

Investigators are trying to determine whether Ortiz was the intended target, Bautista said.

Two other people were wounded, Bautista said, including Jhoel López, a Dominican TV host who was with Ortiz. Bautista said police believe López was wounded by the same bullet.

López was shot in the leg and his injuries were not life-threatening, said his wife, Liza Blanco, who is also a TV host.

Police did not identify the third person or detail that person’s injuries.

The Dial Bar and Lounge is located in eastern Santo Domingo on Venezuela Avenue, a bustling nightlife district packed with dance clubs and pricey bars that Ortiz is known to frequent. Ortiz, who lives at least part of the year in the Dominican, is often seen getting his cars washed and hanging out with friends including other baseball players, artists and entertainers.

The 43-year-old Ortiz hit 541 homers in 20 major league seasons, including 14 with the Red Sox. He helped lead Boston to three World Series titles and retired after the 2016 season. He was a 10-time All-Star and World Series MVP in 2013.

California’s Santa Anita Racetrack Refuses To Close Despite 29 Horse Deaths

Southern California’s Santa Anita racetrack denied a request on Sunday to close for the remainder of its season, despite the deaths of 29 horses since late December.

The California Horse Racing Board, a regulatory agency, asked Santa Anita to suspend racing for the six remaining race days of its season, which began Dec. 26 and ends June 23. The racetrack in Arcadia denied the request, which came amid the death of two more horses this weekend.

“This would provide the industry more time to fully implement announced safety initiatives and perhaps additional ones,” board spokesman Mike Marten told HuffPost. “It is our understanding that Santa Anita management, after consultation with certain other industry stakeholders, believes that for a variety of reasons, the future of California racing is best served by continuing to race.”

The regulatory agency cannot suspend a race meet or remove race dates without the racetrack’s approval unless the board gives a 10-day notice. It did suggest in its request to Santa Anita that horses still be trained even if the track suspends races.



Formal Dude, a 4-year-old gelding, was euthanized after an injury in the 10th race Saturday, the board said. The presumptive diagnosis is a pelvic injury, racing board veterinarian Dr. Rick Arthur told the Los Angeles Times.

Such injuries “can be challenging to diagnose, mostly because the signs can be confused with muscle conditions or other lameness,” Arthur said.

On Sunday, a 3-year-old filly called Truffalino collapsed near the end of the third race. Santa Anita Park Director of Publicity Mike Willman, citing the horse’s trainer, confirmed to HuffPost on Sunday that the horse died of a heart attack.

The racetrack has responded by launching extensive investigations into what could be causing the injuries, but so far have no concrete answers. Willman declined to provide further comment.

Santa Anita is still scheduled to host the Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 1-2. The two-day event is the world championships of racing and has been held at the track for a record 10th time, though safety concerns have event officials potentially considering relocation.