efe-epaBy Shirley Lau Hong Kong, China

Hong Kong’s embattled leader on Tuesday said she had never attempted to tender her resignation to Beijing and that she was staying on her difficult job on her own volition, hours after an audio recording leaked in which she appeared to tell a group of businessmen in private that she would quit if she had a choice.

“I have never tendered any resignation to the central government because I believe I can still lead my team to lift Hong Kong out of this difficult situation,” Chief Executive Carrie Lam said during a morning press briefing.