Hong Kong Law & Crime Politics & Protest

Hong Kong airport closes check-in, flights cancelled for 2nd day amid anti-police violence protest

All check-in services for flights out of Hong Kong have been suspended for the second day in a row as protesters block the departure area of one of the world’s busiest airports.

hong kong airport august 13 cancellation flight

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

On Monday, thousands of black-clad demonstrators flooded Hong Kong International Airport in protest of the police use of force the day before, leading to the cancellation of all outbound flights. Crowds disappeared as the night wore on, but returned to the arrival halls on Tuesday afternoon after flights resumed.

airport

Photo: Supplied.

The Airport Authority had adopted measures to tighten access to the check-in area of Terminal 1 last Thursday, when the sit-in protests began. The step limited access to passengers with boarding passes for the coming 24-hours.

But on Tuesday, a group of protesters successfully entered the Terminal 1 check-in area leading to the departure hall at around 2:50pm.

hong kong airport august 13 cancellation flight

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Meanwhile, protesters began to occupy the departure area of Terminal 2 at 4:30pm.

hong kong airport august 13 cancellation flight

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

“Terminal operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted, and all check-in processes have now been suspended,” read a statement on the Airport Authority’s website, updated at around 6pm.

hong kong airport august 13 cancellation flight

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

“All passengers are advised to leave the terminal buildings as soon as possible. Affected passengers please contact their respective airlines for flight arrangement.”

Some flights scheduled to depart on Tuesday evening were still scheduled to take off.

hong kong airport august 13 cancellation flight

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

“I come today because, for two months, we did so many things but our government didn’t meet the requests,” a protester who gave her name as Jenny told HKFP. “The police are not police!”

At departures, protesters prevented passengers from reaching the gates to immigration, chanting “sorry” and physically blocking them if they attempted to pass.

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Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Meanwhile, others chanted “free Hong Kong” as travellers emerged from arrivals.

hong kong airport august 13 cancellation flight china extradition

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Banners reading “welcome to the expired tear gas city” and and “danger, HK police shoot the citizen” were displayed around the arrivals hall.

hong kong airport august 13 cancellation flight china extradition

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Some activists gave out food and water, as others displayed videos on laptops of apparent police violence and handed out metro maps detailing recent incidents at protests.

“I think their methods have been successful,” one man, who was heading to Australia told HKFP. “I want to get home – I think their point’s been made. I think they’ve potentially a bigger fight than sitting at the airport, but I can see their cause.”

One other traveller from Egypt also voiced support for the protesters, but others were more frustrated: “I don’t mind what they [the protesters] do but they made us five hours delayed,” 50-year-old Wing Au-yeung from South Korea told AFP. “They can do what they want but it should not affect other people.”

hong kong airport august 13 cancellation flight china extradition

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

At around 6.30pm, a scuffle broke out as protesters accosted a man they suspected to be an undercover mainland security officer. Photos of an identity card were shared on Telegram, leading some demonstrators to chase then surround the man, who appeared to match the photo.

Three airport security staff attempted to protect him, as the crowd jeered. Some kicked him and threw punches, causing injuries to his face.

Protesters made him show the contents of his phone, a as one activist fell to the floor. She was taken away on a stretcher by medics.

Police action

Public relations bureau chief Superintendent John Tse said the force was closely monitoring the situation but did not elaborate when asked if any clearance action was imminent.

The city has been shaken by over two months of protests related to a now-suspended extradition bill. On Monday, Beijing said the unrest in Hong Kong was a sign of increasing “terrorism.”

airport

Photo: Supplied.

On Sunday, police fired tear gas inside Kwai Fong MTR station while firing projectiles at close range towards protesters in Tai Koo MTR station. Some officers were disguised as protesters before conducting arrests, and one woman in Tsim Sha Tsui was shot with an apparent bean bag round causing her right eye to rupture.

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Photo: May James/HKFP.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam defended the police on Tuesday saying that many of the allegations of misconduct were not supported by evidence.

Hong Kong airport closes check-in, flights cancelled for 2nd day amid anti-police violence protest