Order returns to Hong Kong airport, but tensions linger

Daniel Fowler
August 14, 2019

US intelligence has confirmed that China is moving troops to the border with Hong Kong, US President Donald Trump said Tuesday, appealing for calm amid intensifying pro-democracy protests in the semi-autonomous financial hub.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled on Tuesday after demonstrators blockaded two terminals, the second consecutive day the airport has been targeted in the latest escalation of a 10-week political crisis that has gripped the global finance hub.

By early Wednesday, most protesters had left and many flights were operating as scheduled in the morning.

Flight departures were brought to a standstill amid scuffles. The Airport Authority said it had obtained a court order to bar people from "unlawfully and willfully" obstructing airport operations.

On Monday, more than 200 flights were cancelled and the airport was effectively shut down with no flights taking off or landing.

Other Chinese airlines have offered passengers wanting to avoid Hong Kong a free switch to nearby destinations, such as Guangzhou, Macau, Shenzhen or Zhuhai, with the disruption sending shares in Shenzhen Airport Co Ltd surging. "However, we are ready to act", he said.

Police said they were trying to get in to the airport to escort an injured man to an ambulance who protesters detained on suspicion of being an undercover agent.

Trump said in a tweet. I have requested the Ministry of Transport to come up with plans. I hope nobody gets hurt.

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Authorities made a decision to declare holidays for all educational institutions in nine out of the 14 districts in the state. In many camps, people observed a sober Eid festival with well-wishers bringing in food and new clothes for the inmates.

For more than two months, Hong Kong has seen mass protests urging democratic reforms and an investigation into police conduct. However, it is advisable to postpone a trip if it is not urgent.

China's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said it strongly condemned the "near terrorism criminal actions" in Hong Kong including what it called a violent attack on a mainland Chinese journalist and tourist at the airport.

The centre urged Thai authorities to issue guidelines to foreign tourists who want to visit Thailand.

"Democracy is a good thing", read one sign inside the Hong Kong airport which sits inside a communist China.

"In light of the continuing unrest and the increase in violent incidents in Hong Kong, it is crucial that all sides exercise restraint, reject all kinds of violence and take urgent steps to de-escalate the situation", an European Union spokesperson said in a statement.

Some staged a peaceful sit-in in the arrival area, but others used barriers to block passengers in the departure hall and at the entrance to the immigration checkpoints, which prevented staff and immigration officials from doing their duty.

Demonstrators who have been protesting for the past nine weeks against Beijing's growing influence in the special administrative region targeted the worldwide airport for a second day on Tuesday.

Beijing has increasingly pitched the anti-government protests as funded by the West, but has provided little evidence.

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