Airport authorities have requested all airlines to immediately cancel all remaining flights into and out of Hong King Airport (HKG) on Monday, August 12, due to ongoing protests at the airport. Authorities advised travelers not to come to the airport and to leave all airport buildings.
Hong Kong Police reportedly arrived at the airport with riot gear, prepared to disperse protesters and have begun to evacuate the airport. No reports indicate as to when the airport will reopen.
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. An estimated 5000 protesters are reportedly demonstrating inside and in the vicinity of the airport.
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 The bill has been suspended, though not fully withdrawn.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. 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.
Individuals traveling via HKG are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all demonstrations, stay away from the airport, contact their airlines to modify any flight reservations, and anticipate transportation and business disruptions, particularly in areas affected by any protest activity.
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