Hong Kong protests enter 13th week

HONG KONG, 5 September 2019: There is no let-up in the protests and standoffs between protesters and Hong Kong Police, but tour companies say flights have not been disrupted this week and tour services have remained viable.

Despite violent clashes and the closure of some MRT stations efforts to disrupt the airport resulted in just a few flights a travel advisory issued by Destination Asia stated.

Travellers need to be aware that the airport express, the MRT and even ferry services could be disrupted.

 The airport express was closed for four hours last Sunday, but since then services between the airport and city are operating normally.

The airport is built on a tiny outlying island and can only be reached via a series of bridges.

“If we disrupt the airport, more foreigners will read the news about Hong Kong,” one protester was quoted as saying by Reuters.

At one point the airport express train service was suspended. However, officials said this was because of debris thrown onto the line.

The MTR Corp this week secured an extended injunction to restrain people from unlawfully obstructing or interfering with the proper use of stations and trains. However, there have still been some instances where police and protesters engaged in scuffles forcing the temporary closure of station entrances.

While tour companies and hotels assure travellers business services are operating, the risk of further violence and disruptions are present. 

Travel advisories issued by countries across Asia recommend travellers to postpone all but essential travel to Hong Kong.

Schools reopened in Hong Kong this week with reports of students boycotting classes, but generally, the threat of a general strike has not materialised this week.

The Guardian newspaper reported Wednesday that Hong Kong was on the “verge of a recession as its private sector activity plunged to a decade-low in August amid an escalating trade war and its worst political crisis in decades.”

It quoted a business survey, released on Wednesday, noting “the steepest deterioration in the health of the private sector since February 2009.”

Protests have no entered their 13th week, and there are growing fears that China will step in to quell the violence.

Hoping to defuse the volatile situation embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor withdrew, late Wednesday, the much-despised extradition bill that caused the weekly protests that resulted in more than 150 arrests, injuries and considerable financial losses.

The decision means the government is finally acceding to one of the five demands of the protesters, who have taken to the streets over the past 13 weeks.