Hong Kong descends into chaos

KUALA LUMPUR, 13 August 2019: Following the 10th consecutive weekend of protests in Hong Kong, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents president Datuk Tan Kok Liang urged holidaymakers to defer their Hong Kong travel plans.

In the news posted on the MATTA website, the MATTA president said that in the light of the latest developments Malaysians should postpone all but essential travel to Hong Kong.

Local media quoted the MATTA president saying “we need to be cautious. Why look for trouble when we can avoid it?”

His comments came ahead of Monday’s disruptions at Hong Kong airport that forced the airport to suspend flight departures scheduled for Monday evening. Flights cancellations continued into Tuesday morning.

The Consular-General of Malaysia in Hong Kong and Macau cautioned Malaysians in Hong Kong to be aware of their surroundings, monitor developments on local news and comply with the relevant announcements by local authorities.

“If you find yourself in a public demonstration, you are advised to leave the area immediately,” it said in a statement.

Similar warnings have been issued by Singapore and Thailand’s foreign affairs ministries warning citizens to avoid travel to Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific has warned staff they could be fired if they “support or participate in illegal protests” in Hong Kong, as pressure from Beijing intensifies.

The warning was emailed to staff by chief executive Rupert Hogg on Monday according to the BBC report.

On Friday, China ordered the airline to suspend workers who support pro-democracy protests in the territory.

Cathay fired two employees and suspended one pilot over the weekend in response to the order.

By Monday afternoon wire services reported Hong Kong’s International Airport had descended into chaos after all flights in and out were cancelled after thousands of protesters entered the arrivals halls to stage a demonstration.

Officials from the airport said in a statement Monday afternoon that the demonstrations have “seriously disrupted” airport operations. It said all check-in services for departing flights had been suspended.

It said only those flights that have already completed the check-in process would move ahead. The airline’s website showed flight cancellations early Tuesday morning suggesting there will be more disruptions to timetables during the remainder of the day.

“Other than the departure flights that have completed the check-in process and the arrival flights that are already heading to Hong Kong, all other flights have been cancelled for the rest of today, (Monday),” the airport authority said in a statement.