Tourists in HK ‘scared’ as flights disrupted for second day running

Marje Pelayo   •   August 14, 2019   •   439

Tourists in Hong Kong said on Tuesday (August 13) night they were ”scared” during demonstrations in the city and were unsure of when they will be able to get back home as flights were disrupted for a second day.

Lara Ceriotti is visiting the city from Italy. She said her friends were unable to fly home on Tuesday due to the airport shut down and she is worried about being able to fly home herself, saying ”we’re kind of scared we can’t get back.”

Two tourists from Switzerland, Pascale Caratsch and Sina Stirnimann, said they have been unable to go home and face the prospect of being stuck in Hong Kong for three days more than they were meant to be.

In a second day of unrest at the airport, thousands of black-clad protesters jammed the terminal, chanting, singing and waving banners.

Scuffles broke out after an injured person was taken out of the main terminal by medics after he was held by a group of protesters. Some activists claimed he was an undercover mainland Chinese police officer.

Protesters also barricaded some passageways in the airport with luggage trolleys, metal barriers and other objects. At least two protesters were taken away by police.

The action at the airport followed an unprecedented shutdown on Monday (August 12). Hong Kong’s Airport Authority said operations had been “seriously disrupted” on Tuesday and departing passengers had been unable to reach immigration counters.

The weeks of protests began as opposition to a now-suspended bill that would have allowed suspects to be extradited to mainland China and have swelled into wider calls for democracy.

Demonstrators say they are fighting the erosion of the “one country, two systems” arrangement that enshrined some autonomy for Hong Kong since China took it back from Britain in 1997.

The increasingly violent clashes between police and protesters have roiled the Asian financial hub. Hong Kong’s stockmarket fell to a seven-month low on Tuesday. – REUTERS

(Production: Ronn Bautista, Juarawee Kittisilpa)

At least one protester shot by police in Hong Kong

Robie de Guzman   •   November 11, 2019

Hong Kong police fired live rounds Monday morning, hitting at least one protester, amid a citywide strike and widespread chaos.

Shortly before 8 am local time (00:00 GMT), witness videos emerged of a police officer firing his gun amid a scuffle on a busy street in the middle-class residential area of Sai Wan Ho, where a group of protesters was blocking traffic.

In a video captured by Cupid News, the officer was first seen running across a road, apparently giving chase, before he stopped and started to walk back. In a sudden move, he turned around, took out his gun and grabbed a young man in white hoodie wearing a mask.

The young man struggled and the officer then appeared to fire a shot at close range into the stomach of an approaching black-clad masked man who dropped to the ground. In footage less clear, bystanders confronted the officer who then fired two more shots, with another person dropping to the ground.

The Hospital Authority confirmed to EFE on Monday afternoon that a 21-year-old man who sustained a gunshot wound was in critical condition. Local media reported the authority as saying another man was seriously injured.

“During Police operations, one Police officer has discharged his service revolver, one male was shot,” police confirmed in a statement.

It added that officers had drawn their weapons in two other locations, but denied “false and malicious” reports that “police management has ordered frontline officers to recklessly use their firearms.”

The proposed citywide strike on Monday was called for by angry anti-government netizens after the death on Friday of 22-year-old university student Alex Chow Tsz-lok. He fell from a height in a car park on Nov. 3 and suffered serious brain injuries under circumstances that are still unclear.

Chaos continued to escalate in the former British colony as the strike brought traffic chaos to various parts of the city during rush hour.

Police were out in force early, with riot officers deployed to various districts. Following the shooting incident, an angry crowd gathered in Sai Wan Ho and shouted “murderers” at the police who cordoned off and guarded roads in the area.

The police statement said that protesters had set up barricades across multiple locations, dropped “large and heavy objects from heights to carriageways” and “threw a petrol bomb into the MTR compartment and vandalized university facilities.”

At around 8.30 am, riot police reportedly entered the campus of Polytechnic University and fired teargas at protesters.

Teargas was also reportedly fired near the campus of the University of Hong Kong on Hong Kong Island and the Chinese University of Hong Kong in the New Territories.

Classes were suspended in at least two universities, namely Shue Yan University and Polytechnic University.

At some metro stations, activists jammed trains and prevented train doors from closing. Many roads were blocked by makeshift barricades erected by black-clad men who came and went quickly. Various metro stations were closed while train services were delayed. – EFE-EPA (Shirley Lau)

China foreign ministry: Report on plans to replace HK leader Lam a political rumor

Robie de Guzman   •   October 23, 2019

Hua Chunying, spokeswoman of China’s foreign ministry, speaks at a regular press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, China, 06 January 2016. EPA/HOW HWEE YOUNG

China’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday (October 23) that the Financial Times report on plans for replacing Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam was a political rumor with ulterior motives.

Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the comments at a daily news briefing in Beijing saying, “This is a political rumor that has ulterior motives.”

“The central government will staunchly support chief executive Carrie Lam and the government of the special administrative region’s governing in accordance with the law and bringing about an end to the violence and chaos as soon as possible and return to order,” the official added.

The FT reported that China was drawing up a plan to replace Hong Kong leader Lam with an “interim” chief executive, citing people briefed on the deliberations.

Hong Kong’s legislature on Wednesday (October 23) formally withdrew planned legislation that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, but the move was unlikely to end months of unrest as it met just one of five demands of pro-democracy protesters. (Reuters)

(Production: Thomas Suen)

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Hong Kong legislature suspended amid chaos over protests

Robie de Guzman   •   October 17, 2019

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam addresses a press conference after presenting her 2019 policy address in Hong Kong, China, 16 October 2019. EPA-EFE/MIGUEL CANDELA

Pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong heckled the city’s embattled leader and called for her to step down on Thursday (October 17) during a legislative session that was repeatedly suspended as several politicians were manhandled out of the chamber.

It was the second day of chaos in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council as leader Carrie Lam tried to answer questions about her annual policy address, which she was forced to deliver by video link on Wednesday (October 16) after similar disruptions in the assembly.

Lam, who is backed by China’s government, announced measures on Wednesday to tackle the city’s chronic housing shortage in her address after she was jeered in the chamber. Again, on Thursday, pro-democracy lawmakers shouted for Lam to resign, saying she had blood on her hands.

They also called on her to address protesters’ key demands – something her policy address largely ignored.

About a dozen members of the assembly were ejected, shouting and waving placards as security guards marched them out. (Reuters)

(Production: Xihao Jiang, Juarawee Kittisilpa)

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