Thursday, June 30, 2022

Hong Kong riot police curb airport protest after clashes

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HONG KONG: Hong Kong riot police took up position at the main rail station serving the airport on Sunday to prevent a new anti-government protest targeting air travel after a night of violent street clashes in the Chinese-ruled territory.

Protesters have targeted the airport before, occupying the arrivals hall, blocking approach roads and setting street fires in the nearby town of Tung Chung, and trashing its subway station.

The Airport Express, which takes passengers under the harbor and across a series of bridges to the airport, built on reclaimed land around an outlying island, was only allowing passengers to board in downtown Hong Kong, not on the Kowloon peninsula, the Airport Authority said.

And only people holding flight tickets were allowed to enter the terminal. Bus services were also affected.

 “There are calls online for using fake boarding passes, fake air tickets or fake flight booking information to enter the terminal buildings … The Airport Authority reminds that such behavior could amount to forgery or using false instrument,” it said in a statement.

One traveler, a 73-year-old retiree from Canada, said he had no problem with the protests if they were “legal and peaceful”.

“They are just trying to voice their demands. As a civilized resident I think these demands are legitimate,” the man, who asked to be identified only as Chow, told Reuters.

Australian traveler Jody Paul, 55, who spent a week on holiday in the former British colony, said the protests hadn’t affected her trip.

 “It was lovely – we didn’t see any of the protesters or any of the action. I was hoping for a glimpse.”

Hundreds of protesters, young and old, gathered in a shopping mall in the New Territories town of Sha Tin, chanting: “Hong Kong people, add oil”, loosely translated as “keep your strength up”.

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