LARGE-scale protests are continuing to take place all over Hong Kong and show no signs of stopping any time soon.
With ongoing protests now taking place within Hong Kong International Airport, here’s the latest on demonstrations in the city-state and how British tourists could be affected.
Is it safe to travel to Hong Kong?
Protests have exploded across the region, with recent developments leading to significant violence with tourists unsure of their next steps.
Airport authorities in Hong Kong have cancelled all remaining flights today after protesters swarmed the main terminal.
In a statement on its website it reads: “Airport operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted, all flights have been cancelled.
“All passengers are advised to leave the terminal buildings as soon as possible. Affected passengers please contact their respective airlines for flight arrangement.”
It added that all check-in services for departing flights had been suspended, while incoming flights were also being diverted or cancelled, according to CNN.
The UK Foreign Office has warned today: “A protest at Hong Kong Airport on 12 August has resulted in the cancellation of all flights out of Hong Kong for the remainder of 12 August.
“The airport authorities advise members of the public not to travel to the airport.”
‘EYE FOR AN EYE’
The FCO warns of unauthorised protests spreading across much of Hong Kong, including some areas popular with tourists on Hong Kong Island in Kowloon.
It warns: “Compared to authorised protests, unauthorised protests are met by a more rapid and more severe police response.
“Recent unauthorised protests have attracted heavy use of tear gas, including in built up and residential areas. You should therefore exercise vigilance in the vicinity of unauthorised protests.”
More than half a million Brits visit the autonomous territory in south eastern China every year, mostly without incident.
Violent crime is generally very low in Hong Kong, though travellers are always encouraged to take sensible precautions.
What about the airport protests?
On August 12 the FCO updated its advice, warning a protest at the international airport has led to the cancellation of all flights.
It’s website says the airport authorities advise members of the public not to travel to the airport.
Thousands of demonstrators have gathered in the airport and it is the biggest disruption to the territory since protests began in early June.
Hong Kong international airport is one of the busiest in the world and officials said the demonstration “seriously disrupted” airport operations.
The FCO said: “Protests are ongoing inside the Hong Kong International Airport, which has led to cancellations of flights and disruption to check-in services.
“Passengers should check their flight status and the latest information on the Hong Kong International Airport website and also contact their airlines for information and for alternative flight arrangements.
“Over 500 flights have been cancelled at Hong Kong International Airport on Monday 12 and Tuesday 13 August, which could have a knock on effect on flight availability in and out of Hong Kong.”
Flights have now resumed after five consecutive days of ongoing clashes at the airport.
Protesters have been demanding greater democratic freedoms and opposing Chinese influence in the territory.
Officials were forced to shut down the airport for a second day in a row, and police are now reported to be using batons and tear gas to disperse protesters.
How else could my stay be affected?
The FCO is warning visitors to “remain vigilant” and follow the advice of the local authorities to move away to a safe place.
“You should be prepared that the situation around protests and public gatherings could change quickly, with the potential for significant violence,” it says.
The FCO has also warned of possible disruption to transport and the possibility of protests spilling over into public spaces such as shopping centres.
It warns: “Demonstrations may lead to sections of the city being closed off and strikes by public transport workers will significantly disrupt services.
“In recent protests, bus routes, MTR stations, the Airport Express and the Hong Kong Macao Ferry Terminal have temporarily suspended operations without warning.”
Can I wear black?
Visitors have been advised to avoid wearing black while out and about to avoid being mistaken for protesters.
Thousands of protesters were pictured wearing black when they marched in Mong Kok, a shopping area.
It’s also alleged that the China-backed mobsters wearing white T-shirts targeted an overseas Filipino worker just for wearing a black T-shirt.
Deputy Philippine Consul General in Hong Kong, Germinia Aguilar-Usudan said he’d been on his way back from getting some food when he was detained by police.
No charges were filed, but the consul general is warning citizens to avoid wearing monochrome T-shirts at this time.
“We will continue to advise our citizens to avoid this area and preferably to avoid using black or white T-shirts,” he told Filstar.
What are the protests about?
A huge cross-section of society including lawyers, journalists, activists and business figures have joined in widespread protests across the region.
The demonstrations kicked off in June 2019 when Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, refused to scrap highly controversial legislation to extradite those convicted of crimes to mainland China and Taiwan.
Police and protesters have clashed throughout the past two months, with dozens injured and hundreds arrested.
That bill has been shelved for now – but the protests have now mushroomed into a broader backlash against the government amid fears of the growing control of China’s Communist party.
Protesters have said they will keep going until their demands are met.
These include the resignation of the city’s leader, Carrie Lam, an amnesty for those arrested and a permanent withdrawal of the bill.
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