Airport officials at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) have indicated that flights affected by protest activity at the airport on Monday, August 12, will be rescheduled from 06:00 (local time) on Tuesday, August 13. All departing flights were canceled at around 15:30 on Monday, August 12, due to the presence of several thousand protesters in the airport's Terminal 1. Flight operations are expected to remain suspended until Tuesday morning, with lingering flight disruptions (i.e. flight delays and cancelations) to be expected through Tuesday. Additional protest activity is reportedly scheduled at the airport at 13:00 on Tuesday, which may result in renewed flight disruptions.
Anti-extradition bill protesters have been demonstrating in the airport since Friday, August 9, with minimal effect to airport operations through Sunday, August 11; however, protesters moved to security gates on Monday, prompting significant disruptions to flight operations. An estimated 5000 protesters were reportedly demonstrating inside and in the vicinity of the airport on Monday. Significant transportation delays were reported around the airport following the arrival of Hong Kong Police to the site and amid their efforts to evacuate the airport. Airport authorities also asked passengers to avoid the airport until further notice.
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 The bill has been suspended, though not fully withdrawn.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, 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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