Hong Kong airport cancels all departing flights as protesters occupy terminals

Tuesday, 13 Aug, 2019

Hong Kong is in its ninth week of demonstrations that began in response to a proposed extradition law but have expanded to include other grievances and demands for more democratic freedoms.

Around 1 p.m., hordes of people began to converge at the airport, and by 3 p.m., the arrival lobby was jampacked with protestors, forcing the Hong Kong airport authority to limit the number of departure and arrival flights, beginning at 6 p.m., Liberty Times reported. Demands quickly escalated for the resignation of Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam, an independent investigation into police brutality against demonstrators, and pro-independence reforms.

Traffic on roads to the airport was extremely congested and vehicle park spaces were full, it said.

The brand-new vehicles, complete with real-time surveillance cameras and multiple spray nozzles, were wheeled out after police clashed with demonstrators at almost a dozen locations on Sunday.

Over the weekend, as demonstrators threw up barricades across the city, police shot volleys of tear gas into crowded underground train stations for the first time, and fired bean-bag rounds at close range.

No country, entity or individual should be allowed to "destroy the sovereignty and security of China and "one country and two systems" as Hong Kong is Hong Kong of China", the North's foreign ministry spokesman said in comments carried by the official KCNA news agency. Soon, images and videos went viral showing her lying on the street with blood pouring out of her right eye.

It was unclear how many flights were impacted, according to Doris Lai, a spokesperson for the Hong Kong Airport Authority.

They demonstrated jets of water from the trucks on several dummy torsos placed at different distances from the vehicles. There are unconfirmed reports she could lose her right eye as a result of the injury.

Hundreds of people returned on Monday to the scene of some of the clashes to protest against the use of force.

Protesters hold up placards that read "HK Police attempt to murder HK citizens" as they take part in a sit-in protest at the arrival hall.

In a separate incident, protesters gathered outside a police station in Sham Shui Po and stood their ground as they were surrounded by officers wearing protective gear who looked down at them from a tall wall.

While China is Hong Kong's most important trading partner, the city is an worldwide business and financial hub, and the economy is already showing signs of hurting as a result of the protests.

Joshua Wong, secretary-general of pro-democracy party Demosistō and the iconic figure from the 2014 Umbrella Movement, urged in a Twitter post that the world must not remain silent over the latest police violence.

It is the biggest threat to Beijing's rule of the semi-autonomous southern Chinese city since its handover from Britain in 1997 - and has drawn repeated criticism but no forceful actions yet from the central Chinese government.

Their return flights, FD505, FD503 and FD525 from Hong Kong were also cancelled. Hogg said in a previous memo Saturday that Cathay Pacific must comply with the civil aviation authority's regulations.

The airline has also found itself the target of a boycott call by mainland residents.

The U.S. State Department slammed the Chinese government Thursday, accusing it behaving like a "thuggish regime" after a state newspaper published personal information of an American diplomat in Hong Kong who reportedly spoke with supposed "Hong Kong independence" activists.