Asia Business Channel

Breaking News - Hong Kong airport reopens ~ military on standby ~ what’s next?

Passengers checking flights on Tuesday morning at Hong Kong International Airport.

As Hong Kong reels from a weekend of violent protests that included tear gas in subway stations, protesters injured and arrested by the police and 5,000 people staging protests at Hong Kong International Airport and forcing it to close, the question has to be asked ~ what is going to be the economic and personal toil on Hong Kong?

The latest updates on the airport

Hong Kong International Airport reopened at 6:00am and flights were arriving and departing on a somewhat regularly scheduled basis. Hundreds of flights were canceled yesterday in the morning because aircraft did not land last night, which are used in todays flights.

Cathay Pacific Airlines said on its website this morning that it had cancelled more than 200 flights and would only operate a limited number of flights for connecting passengers. Cathay has urged customers to "postpone non-essential travel" to and from Hong Kong.

Protesters have said they will descend on the airport again today, but as of the time of this writing, the airport is still open and large numbers of protesters have not yet appeared, although this situation could change in the afternoon or evening.


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Hong Kong Chief Executive, Carrie Lam at this morning’s press conference


The latest updates on the government

Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong held a press conference this morning and has again called on the protesters to stop their activities. Ms. Lam noted that even thought the extradition bill has been withdrawn, the protests have continued and are becoming a source of pain for average citizens.

In her press conference, Ms. Lam said that violent protests are driving Hong Kong down a "path of no return.” Lam added that "Violence, no matter if it's using violence or condoning violence, will push Hong Kong down a path of no return, will plunge Hong Kong society into a very worrying and dangerous situation. The situation in Hong Kong in the past week has made me very worried that we have reached this dangerous situation,"Ms. Lam also discussed the long-term damage to Hong Kong’s image and economy and stated that violence by protesters had pushed Hong Kong into "a state of panic and chaos.”

"Hong Kong, as an open, free, very tolerant, economically stable city will see severe wounds...The recovery may take a long time," she said.

There are reports that airline, hotel and event bookings are down 15 ~ 20% and Hong Kong’s brand and economy could take years to recover if the protests and violence continue to escalate.

Carrie Lam has warned several times that Hong Kong is facing an economic crisis worse than either the 2003 SARS outbreak or the 2008 financial crisis. “The situation this time is more severe,” she said. “In other words, the economic recovery will take a very long time.”


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Chinese military vehicles were seen gathering outside of Shenzhen this morning


The latest updates on the military

There are media reports this morning that Chinese military troops are massing outside of Shenzhen in preparation for assisting Hong Kong’s military garrison. As a mater of protocol, if the Hong Kong government asks for military assistance, Chinese troops that are already stations in Hong Kong would be the first to be activated. Troops in Shenzhen could then be sent into Hong Kong to assist the Hong Kong police and military and they would be assigned to take over and “defend” key government offices, agencies and infrastructure.

 

 

 

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