Asia Business Channel

After a night of chaos and violence – Hong Kong’s airport is back to normal

Protestors gather at Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday.


Hong Kong’s International Airport (HKIA) was conducting “normal flight operations” on Wednesday after a night of protests that led to chaos and violence. Hundred’s of “black color” protestors descended on the airport and staged a sit-in in the departure area that prevented passengers from boarding flights. As a result, HKIA suspended the airports operations late Tuesday afternoon.


By mid-evening, the crowd of protestors had grown in size, with an estimated 4,000+ black clad protestors converging on the main sections of the airport. By late night, battles with police broke out as protestors


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Frustrated passengers battled to navigate through protestors in order to get to departure desks


Highlights of Tuesday & Wednesday

• Tuesday – HKIA cancelled all departures in the late afternoon, after hundreds of black-shirted protesters staged a sit-in in the departure terminal. The sit-in prevented passengers from checking-in for their flights or reaching their planes.

• Tuesday – Chaos erupted in the evening hours and protestors detained and beat two mainland Chinese men, who the protestors believed were undercover police officers. One of the men has been identified as working for the Global Times, although a protestor said that this was false and they had found documents on him that identified him as a police officer. Riot police entered the airport on Tuesday night after the first mainland man was detained and assaulted by protesters. Police immediately clashed with protestors, which led to chaos, and the riot police used pepper spray.

• In another episode broadcast on television, a police officer fighting with protestors had his baton taken away by protestors who fought back against the officer with it. The police officer drew his gun and pointed it at protestors before putting it away.


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Hong Kong riot police battle with protestors at Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday


• Wednesday – Chinese authorities in Beijing condemned the protesters for assaulting two Mainland Chinese men at HKIA, and said was a Shenzhen citizen who was at HKIA to say goodbye to a friend and the second was a reporter for the Global Times in Beijing. Xu Luying, a spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) under the State Council of China’s cabinet, expressed “extreme anger and strongly condemned the assaults.” Ms. Xu said the actions of the protestors were “nearly acts of terrorism”.

• Wednesday – The Hong Kong Police Department announced that five people had been arrested in conjunction with Tuesday’s actions at the airport

• Wednesday - The Airports Council International Asia-Pacific (ACIAP), an association of airports, made a statement that expressed its “strong condemnation” of the disruptions in Hong Kong. ACIAP said: “We stand in solidarity with our colleagues at Hong Kong International Airport and the Airport Authority of Hong Kong. The aviation industry is a close-knit community and together, we stand firm and united in bringing people together, ensuring the safety and security of the travelling public by offering a network of safe and secure airports.”

• Wednesday – HKIA authorities were granted a legal injunction against protests at the airport, except in two specifically designated areas. At 2pm the Airport Authority posted the formal notice detailing the interim court order, which prohibits “inciting, aiding, and/or abetting” any unlawful and willful obstruction of proper use of the airport, or blocking roads or passageways near it. The Airport Authority said: “Any person who neglects to abide by or neglects to follow the interim injunction order, or any person assists another in disobeying the interim injunction order may be held in contempt of court, and is liable to imprisonment or a fine.

• Wednesday – HKIA announced at 2:30pm (HK time) that flights had been arriving from the airport since 6am, but 63 arriving and departing flights had been cancelled. Cathay Pacific Airlines, which is Hong Kong’s flagship airline, said that it had cancelled 272 flights since Monday, effecting 55,000 passengers.

 

 

 

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