Hong Kong's embattled chief executive has officially announced his resignation, ending a week of political speculation and nearly eight years as the territory's leader.
Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa blamed poor health for his early departure, but his resignation comes amid widespread conjecture that officials in Beijing forced the unpopular leader out of office.
Mr. Tung has been criticized for his handling of Hong Kong's economy and the 2003 SARS outbreak. He also resisted demands for democratic reforms, prompting large public protests in 2003 and 2004.
The former shipping magnate on Thursday defended his political legacy and denied that China's government forced his resignation.
"That is not the case, the central government has repeatedly affirmed the work that I and my colleagues has done."
Mr. Tung is expected to leave office Saturday. The city's second-highest official, Chief Secretary Donald Tsang, will reportedly fill in until a new leader is selected later this year.