Last weekend I reviewed whether it’s advisable for tourists to visit Hong Kong as protests there escalate, risking backlash from mainland China.
I concluded that a first time tourist might well choose to reschedule their trip. Protests had reached the airport, tourists stumbling into protest areas have reported being gassed, and the situation is volatile. I took a lot of heat for that advice but the question wasn’t just the state of the protests last weekend, but the potential for escalation. Since I wrote the U.S. and other countries have offered travel warnings.
Clashes between police and democracy protesters have escalated. Here an officer arrests a man on Sunday night, pressing his knee into the man’s face pushing him into his own pooling blood as he calls out “Don’t do this. I’m begging you.” There were 45 protesters injured over the weekend. Of those 25 remain in the hospital.
#HongKong police made mass arrests in Causeway Bay on Sunday eve – aided by men who appeared to be undercover officers dressed as protesters. HKFP footage showed one of the men assisting in an arrest of a bloodied activist. Full story: https://t.co/2ZQIrsUKnI pic.twitter.com/wrY2xSaI2I
— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) August 11, 2019
Spurred on by the government’s increasingly violent crackdown, protesters occupied the airport on Monday. Traffic came to a standstill and protesters crossed the roads leading in and out. All departures were cancelled for the rest of the day. Cathay Pacific says cancellations continue into Tuesday morning, and that passengers should postpone all non-essential travel and should not head to the airport. In-town check-in has also been closed.
— Eddie Zhang (@ezhang) August 12, 2019
Protesters reportedly began dissipating in the evening as rumors swirled of a police operation to retake the facility. With large scale military exercises taking place in nearby Shenzhen residents are concerned with a military takeover by the mainland.
The People’s Armed Police have been assembling in Shenzhen, a city bordering Hong Kong, in advance of apparent large-scale exercises, videos obtained by the Global Times have shown. https://t.co/3KgaXeHw3C pic.twitter.com/YXAORMay0W
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) August 12, 2019
Neither United nor American are still willing to penalties to let you change your Hong Kong plans. United for its part “recommend[s] leaving early to make sure you have plenty of time to travel to the [Hong Kong] airport and get through check-in and security.”