Hong Kong’s airport authority has cancelled all flights after thousands of pro-democracy protestors flooded the airport to protest against the police handling of long-running demonstrations.
— Trama (@Trama70602212) August 12, 2019
The Hong Kong Airport Authority has asked passengers to avoid coming to the airport. “All check-in service for departure flights has been suspended. 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,” the Airports Authority said in a statement.
“All passengers are advised to leave the terminal buildings as soon as possible. Affected passengers please contact their respective airlines for flight arrangement.
“The Airport Emergency Centre has been activated. The AA will work closely with its business partners with a view to resuming normal airport operations as soon as possible,” the statement said.
What we are witnessing now in #HongKong is a massive failure of governance. It’s very sad and there are no winners from this. The biggest tragedy is the breakdown in trust between the public and the police.#HongKongProtests pic.twitter.com/O3GrxHprgh
— Peter Lewis – on the radio in Hong Kong (@MoneyTalkR3) August 12, 2019
As a result of these ongoing protests, on August 9 China’s aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Administration of China asked airline company Cathay Pacific to suspend workers who participated in the protest and the company fired employees and a pilot.
On 12 August Cathay Pacific’s chief executive Rupert Hogg threatened the airline staff in an email against being involved in any illegal protests. “Cathay Pacific Group has a zero tolerance approach to illegal activities. Specifically, in the current context, there will be disciplinary consequences for employees who support or participate in illegal protests,” the email said, as reported by the BBC. “These consequences could be serious and may include termination of employment.”
This protest comes after a bloody night during the ten-weekend long demonstration where the police fired tear gas inside the Kwai Fong MTR station and charged at protestors on an escalator. Police were seen to shoot rubber bullets from a metre’s distance and a female demonstrator was hit by a projectile in her eye.
— waiman (@Waiman0316) August 12, 2019
Hong Kong police repeatedly shooting rubber bullets from 1m distance at protesters who are leaving and entering Taikoo MTR station.
— Denise Ho (HOCC) (@hoccgoomusic) August 11, 2019
Ongoing protests across the Chinese territory were sparked by a bill that would have allowed extraditions to China where the Communist party controls the judicial system. Activists are worried that critics of Beijing would be sent to the mainland and denied justice.
Although the bill has been suspended, demonstrators are demanding it be fully withdrawn.
This isn’t the first time the airport witnessed protests. On 26 July, thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators and airline staff held a sit-in with the aim of raising awareness of the protests’ goals. Then on 5 August, more than 200 flights were cancelled amid a city-wide strike where protestors paralysed train services during peak hours.