News Alerts

13 Aug 2019 | 04:08 PM UTC

Hong Kong: Heightened security presence, clashes reported at Hong Kong Airport (HKG) August 13 /update 57

Hong Kong, SAR China News Alert

Heightened security presence, clashes between protesters and riot police reported at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) late (local time) on August 13; dozens of departing flights canceled

TIMEFRAME expected from 8/13/2019, 12:00 AM until 8/20/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Hong_Kong). COUNTRY/REGION Hong Kong, Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)

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Event

A heightened security presence and clashes between protesters and police were reported at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) as of late (local time) Tuesday, August 13. Clashes were reported between the sides shortly after 23:00, with reports of police using pepper spray on protesters at the airport; as of 23:40, police were reportedly retreating from the airport after briefly assembling outside, while protesters remained inside the facility.

Airport authorities requested all airlines to cancel departing flights from HKG on Tuesday afternoon, resulting in the cancelations of dozens of flights, due to thousands of protesters demonstrating in the airport for a fifth consecutive day and blocking passageways to the airport's restricted and immigration areas. It was not immediately reported when normal flight operations are expected to resume at HKG. Further disruptions to flight operations (i.e. flight delays and cancelations) are to be expected at HKG over the coming days if protests continue at the facility.

Activists are also planning further demonstrations against police brutality and the extradition bill in the city of Hong Kong over the coming days. Individuals are being called to gather at the Dharma Assembly at 20:00 on Thursday, August 15, and at the Revenue Tower on Friday, August 16. A march is scheduled in Hung Hom-To Kwa Wan on Saturday, August 17, as well as a demonstration by teachers at Chater Garden starting at 11:00. The Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) is organizing another march on Sunday, August 18, starting at 14:30 from Victoria Park to Chater Road. A march from Tsuen Wan to Kwai Tsing is also expected to begin at 14:00 on the same day.

A heightened security presence and localized transportation and business disruptions are to be expected near all protest sites. Clashes between police forces and protesters cannot be ruled out.

Context

Protests and mass demonstrations of up to 2 million people have been held since June 9, in opposition to a controversial bill that would allow Hong Kong to extradite fugitives wanted in mainland China and other territories. Opponents claim the law would erode freedoms and be used to silence dissent and criticism. The bill has been suspended, though not fully withdrawn.

The demonstrations have spread from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and the New Territories in recent weeks and have also become increasingly violent. On July 14, clashes between police and protesters in a Sha Tin shopping mall left 22 people hospitalized. On July 21, a group of pro-government men armed with bars and sticks attacked protesters and commuters in Yuen Long, leaving 45 people injured. On July 27-28, police used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protesters, marking another escalation in violence. Unidentified assailants reportedly fired fireworks at protesters in Tin Shui Wai on July 30. Protesters destroyed several vehicles and ignited a fire outside a police station in Tsim Sha Tsui on August 3, leading to violent clashes between police forces and protesters late into the night. Police used tear gas against protesters and arrested at least 20 of them. Protesters also clashed with police across Hong Kong on August 11, in a tenth consecutive weekend of anti-extradition bill protests in the city. Police reportedly fired tear gas and charged with batons at demonstrators across the city.

Advice

Individuals traveling via HKG are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all demonstrations, prepare for lingering flight disruptions, and contact their airlines to confirm or modify flight reservations. Budget additional time to travel to the airport once normal flight operations resume at HKG.

 

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