Airport authorities have requested all airlines to immediately cancel all remaining flights out of Hong Kong Airport (HKG) on Monday, August 12, due to ongoing protests at the airport's Terminal 1. As of 16:10, 80 percent of flights were delayed. Over 1000 protesters are estimated to be occupying the terminal's building. Hong Kong Police arrived at the airport with riot gear, prepared to disperse protesters and have begun to evacuate the airport. No reports indicate as to when flights will resume.
Anti-extradition bill protesters have been demonstrating in the airport since Friday, August 9, causing minimal effects to airport operations, though protesters have moved to security gates on Monday.
Prior to this, as of 12:00 (local time), airport authorities increased security at the airport, with access to the departure hall of Terminal 1 restricted to passengers with travel documents and air tickets valid for the following 24 hours.
Additional protests are planned over the coming days. Demonstrations are expected to be held in Hung Hom and To Kwa Wan on August 17, and Tsuen Wan and Kwai Tsing on August 18. 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.
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 The bill has been suspended, though not fully withdrawn.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.
Individuals in Hong Kong are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all demonstrations, confirm flight reservations prior to leaving for the airport, and anticipate transportation and business disruptions, particularly in areas affected by protest activity.
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